It’s easy to tell if people like your content on social. All you need to do is watch the likes pour in and see the number of shares continue to climb.

But how confident are you when it comes to measuring the return on investment (ROI) of your social media activities?

56 percent of social media marketers are either uncertain or unable to measure the return on investment, according to the 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry report. In fact, if you’re like most, it’s probably your top concern.

You spend hours upon hours each week creating, publishing, monitoring and engaging with content, so you must prove what it’s doing for your business.

Read on for the latest insights from Sprout Social’s 2018 study on social media and ROI.

1. Putting a dollar amount on social isn’t enough.

A mere 14 percent of marketers can put a dollar value on the sales that social media brought in, but that low number is not necessarily a bad thing.

Social marketers’ top goals are increasing brand awareness, community engagement, web traffic and then to generate sales.

Luckily, this aligns with what consumers want, too. Those surveyed said they prefer brand content that aids in awareness and consideration.

Social is the place to introduce yourself to new leads, get to know each other and then maybe make it official with a sale.

Ensure your ROI aligns with your goals. If you want to increase awareness, focus on reach. If engagement is the goal, track those likes and shares. Or zero in on those website referrals (and see how many convert). Combine all these elements to capture the full spectrum and impact of social media.

2. Give people what they want.

Once you expand the definition of ROI, you want to boost your metrics for success.

If you, like most, want to boost awareness and engagement, start by delivering more of what people want!

As marketers, we focus on posts that teach, tell a story and inspire. But people want posts that deliver deals, showcase new products and teach them something.

Focus in on the educational posts since they’re in both groups. Also, sprinkle in more entertainment, which is always something consumers want more of.

Want engagement?

People are more likely to engage (rather than share) these kinds of posts:

  • 150 percent more likely to engage with employee advocacy posts.
  • 90 percent more likely to engage with company happenings or company personality posts.
  • 50 percent more likely to engage with new product posts.
  • 31 percent more likely to engage with storytelling content.

Want awareness?

People are most likely to share these posts:

  • Entertaining posts
  • Inspiring posts
  • Storytelling posts
  • Educational posts

Want both?

Most people (58 percent) prefer visual content, specifically graphics, images and produced videos.

Make it a consumable length, add captions and finally don’t make it too sales-centric, or you’ll lose your audience.