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Marketing

Published November 13th 2014

Proving the Value of Your Social Media Efforts is Easier Than You Think

Find out how to measure the ROI of your social media activity.

Having been a marketer for nearly ten years across a variety of different industries, I’ve found there is one common sticking point for anyone who works on the social media and communities areas. Proving the ROI of efforts on social.

Social has evolved over the years from something a little unknown, and perhaps thought of as a gamble, into a legitimate channel in a brand’s marketing strategy. With precious budget being spent on investing in the right technologies – and talent – in this area, marketers must report on and track their efforts in the same way that they would have to for say, a DM campaign, or an email drop.

drawing city over book

It can be seen as a tough ask. It’s certainly a little more tricky than tracking the ROI of investing time and money in a new demo request page on your website, or a print campaign.

But it can be done. And once you can prove the value of your social media efforts,  you’ll be able to clarify the impact of your social campaigns to upper management, as well as arming yourself with objective data to inform you about the types of campaigns and tactics that are working for you.

Establish a baseline of key metrics

To really get to understand how well your social efforts are working, you have to strip right back.

You need to know where you’ve started, so you can track your progress. By establishing a baseline of key metrics before you kick off a social campaign, you will be able to clearly define the goals you wish to achieve and see how you’re doing against them.

Imagine your primary goal is to increase the number of social media mentions of a product that your company recently repositioned. You’d set your baseline by using a social listening tool to understand the volume of product mentions that are happening right now, today.

ROI - return on investment

Once you’ve established the baseline volume of mentions, you would then make sure that it corresponds to a revenue number. In this case, you would use the current revenue of the product at the latest date possible leading into your social campaign. This way, you can track mention volume in relation to revenue for the product over time.

Define where social is working for you

Once you’ve put your key metrics in place, you can begin to drill down and understand more deeply which social channels are working for you.

You might get shedloads of visits to your website from your Facebook page, but are they then converting to a sale down the line? What about that smaller number of visits from Google+? Are those visitors actually bringing in more money?

happy

Use a tool like Google Analytics to track user journeys alongside a social listening tool to track sentiment around each channel to learn and adapt your messaging. Are your Facebook followers not converting? Do a deep dive into topic data and sentiment to help validate your numbers.

Develop a process to make your life easier

So you’ve developed your baseline metrics, learnt which channels are bringing in revenue and now you need to get a standardised process in place to actually measure the ROI.

If you know that Twitter is the one site yielding the majority of mentions about your brand and competition, you’ll want to be continuously monitoring the site, ensuring you can engage in the most appropriate discussions and suggest the value of your company’s services or products.

social-engagement

Once a Twitter discussion turns into a lead, you can attach a value to the progression of that discussion by applying the value of a lead. Thus, the ROI of monitoring Twitter and engaging consumers who progress into the sales cycle becomes a simple calculation: ROI = (# of Leads x The Value of a Lead) / Cost of Twitter Engagement.

The “cost” element here comes from the staff hours spent on Twitter engagement – you can minimise this using streamlined processes that leverage email alerts and smart monitoring.

A similar scenario for calculating ROI takes place when you measure responses to your own social content. For example, assume you blog on your own site and comment/participate in others’ blogs.

By simply asking new prospects where they heard about your brand, you can begin to recognise which posts and sites are working best to generate interest in your brand. The same calculation applies, with your cost factor changing to the value you place on time spent blogging.


To find out more about how you can measure the ROI of social, we’ve gone into further detail in this handy eBook. Download it for free and see working examples and other tips and tricks to ensure you’re proving the worth of your efforts. Simple!

get the guide

Now you know.

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