Guest post from Amy McIlwain at Financial Social Media

Entrepreneur, author, speaker, and worldwide connector, Amy McIlwain is recognized internationally for radical new ways of thinking about Social Media. Amy launched Financial Social Media in 2010 which specifically addresses the compliance issues surrounding social media and the financial industry. With her unique background in both online marketing and financial services Amy knows which media vehicles work and the marketing language needed to deliver results. Amy continues to teach others about the power of Social Media marketing and has conducted several live trainings and webinars for thousands of people worldwide. Additionally, her content has been featured in several top financial industry publications, blogs, websites, and books. Outside of work Amy’s passion lies in travel. She has visited over 22 countries and spent time living in both Spain and Australia. One of her lifetime goals is to explore all seven continents.


Think back to the last time you attended a trade conference, a chamber networking event, or an impromptu coffee meeting with a lead. During these occasions, I assume you engaged in conversation, exchanged pleasantries, passed out business cards, and gave brilliant elevator speeches. In other words, you “spread the seeds” of your business with hopes that some would grow into lasting business relationships.

Let’s face it, many seeds whittled and faded; but others probably developed into fruitful returns on your investment of time and energy.

Similar to relationship building meetings and events, social media offers the platforms to spread the seeds of your business to the world. Measuring the growth of the seeds, however, can be a challenging concept to grasp; but It begins by shifting your definition of your return on investment (ROI) and developing a solid list of key performance indicators (KPI). Below are two indispensable strategies to consider when it comes to measuring social media ROI:

1. Change Your Perspective: In the old days (1990’s), it was easy to launch a marketing campaign and measure the success via bottom line growth. With social media marketing, it’s a little different. Many advisors (understandably) struggle grasping the benefits and potential returns of social media. With a little shift in perspective, however, the benefits and/or returns are hard to ignore.

  • Cost Savings: Let me state the obvious: social media is cheap and in many cases free. By having stellar social media processes and operations, you will save your company a boat load of money that otherwise would be spent on costly marketing campaigns. Don’t ignore this when examining benefits and returns.
  • Search Engine Rankings: Google is the #1 search engine tool in the world and is an integral part of many people’s’ day-to-day lives. Think of social media as the vehicle to increased search engine rankings and ultimately worldwide exposure.
  • Cost Avoidance: If you’ve accepted it or not, people are talking about your business on social media. Whether or not you choose to participate in this conversation is up to you. I don’t know about you, but if I knew people were talking about me in real life, I’d want to be there to save face. On social media, you have the power to not only listen in, but monitor the conversations that are buzzing about your business. Just think—putting an end to one negative conversation may result in one new client that may have never looked twice.
  • Sales and Revenue: Just because the “bottom line” is no longer the only measure of success, it doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Continue to measure the relationship between your business’ bottom line and your social media efforts. Still shaking your head? Check out some of these success stories.
  • Social Capital: Social capital refers to the collective or economic benefits of knowing people. In other words, the more people you know, the more likely you are to gain referrals and prospects, get preferential treatment, a develop your “celebrity” so to speak.

2. Keep track of the seeds that grow with KPI: Key Performance Indicators are the mediums through which your business assesses success. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of measuring your performance. You’ll waste years of time and energy if you fail to do so. Here’s how you can get started:

  • Create Categories: Choose metrics that you can translate into business categories, such as sales, leads, customer satisfaction, customer interaction, ect. Determine these categories based on the goals of your business. For example, if you’re seeking to increase referrals, use referrals as a unit of measurement.
  • Stop Fixating on your “likes”: Define more than just “attention” metrics (# of followers, ect). For financial professionals, it takes time to develop a large following. And, while it’s great to have as many followers as possible, it’s essential to expand your attention to other areas such as higher search engine rankings, follower engagement (likes, comments, shares), and weekly total reach.
  • KPI’s for each social network: Each social network is different. On Facebook you may measure your “weekly total reach” whereas on YouTube you may measure the # of video views. Regardless, make sure you cater KPI’s to the specific network.

3. Check out some Monitoring Gems: Below are some awesome, free tools to help you gauge the performance of your social media marketing. The information and insights you obtain from these sources will be useful in all realms of your business. 

  • Facebook Insights: Facebook Insights is a great tool to measure the impact of your posts, how many people are talking about your page, demographics, and your weekly total reach outside of your fanbase. You can access insights by logging into your business page and clicking on the admin panel.
  • Google Analytics (free): With Google Analytics, you can insert a line of code into your website and keep track of how people get to your site, how they navigate through it, and how long they stay.
  • YouTube Channel Stats: On YouTube, you can keep track of video views, demographics, playback locations, traffic sources, audience retention, subscribers, views and more.
  • Going Up!: This is another free web analytics package that helps you monitor traffic trends, SEO, keywords, and user profile data.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is not necessarily a monitoring tool, but it can provide good information about your connections. Use it to keep track of what your competitors, industry trends, and hot discussions.