Many marketing directors and small business owners that are a part of our social media campaigns are looking for the ‘big’ answer which is, “how can I figure out my return on investment (ROI) of my social media campaigns?”
In many of our SEO campaigns, we’ve looked at viewer’s measurement online. We are focusing now on one of the most difficult areas to track, which are of course, social media campaigns.
Conventionally, businesses use ROI as part of their planning process. The question is simple, “Is this an idea is worth doing?” To find the answer, businesses try to measure the cost of the investment against the anticipated result.
However, when it comes to social media, some businesses approached ROI the wrong way. Social media shouldn’t just be the #1 goal in any business. It should be considered as a part of an overall business plan to reach a certain objective (i.e. promoting a certain product or improving customer relations). There’s an enormous difference between: “We need a Facebook page” and “We need to learn more about our customers through our Facebook page.”
When businesses try to gauge a certain strategy, they should ask themselves 5 questions to help them decide on what to move forward with:
- How many people are talking about your product, service or topic?
- Which ways are people are talking about your information (positive / negative / neutral)?
- How many social media sites (or off-page sources) are working with your conversation?
- How much reach does the followers or fans talking about your campaign have?
- With what you are talking about, how much of the conversation is 100% focused on your business?
Once the answers have been compiled, look at the results before diving into a huge campaign or promotion. It might just surprise you that what you thought might work as a way to market your business online, might just not be recognized positively (or at all) on your social media channels.
Give Me a Number!
Many different sites (like Klout, Radian6, etc.) measure general popularity, but it’s difficult to get accurate details and they can easily be manipulated to produce higher ‘scores’.
There are ways to calculate the monetary value of your fans. You can figure out how much more an engaged fan is worth to you – such as whether he or she is more likely to spend twice as much as a casual fan – and compare that to your social-media costs to see whether it was worth recruiting them. But putting a value on your engaged fan in the first place can require surveys or other investments.
Many business owners need to look at social media strategy as an overall long-term goal made up of smaller campaigns and promotions thoughtfully pulled together with focused strategies from the beginning. By realizing the many campaigns that make up their overall social media strategy (and a lot of patience!) they will truly see their ROI climb over the course of 6 -12 months.
That being said — some tech watchers say 2011 was the year of social media, and 2012 will be the year of social metrics. If so, we’ve reached the year of the ‘true beginning’.