When was the last time you heard the phrase “social ROI?” A week ago? Yesterday? How about 43 minutes ago. That’s right, today’s industry buzzword seems to be a topic of conversation more and more often (there have been 20,000+ tweets about social ROI in the last 28 days), and you can no longer hide behind words like engagement, fans and perception. Your boss wants answers in dollars and cents. Here are a few ways you can improve your chances of measuring real ROI through social:
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn advertising can be really inexpensive, but only if you know who you’re targeting. Take some time to consider who cares about your brand, product or service. How old are they? Where do they live? Are they male or female (or both)? What interests do they have in common? What is their profession? Answering these questions can help you target the right people on the right channels to minimize your costs.
This one is so commonly overlooked that it derails way too many social media campaigns. Simply put, know the value of whatever goal you’re trying to achieve. Obtaining impressions, engagement and email addresses is one thing. Obtaining a value of those metrics puts you in an entirely different realm. To get values of customers along your funnel, try answering the following questions:
When you can answer most of these clearly, you’ll already have a leg up when it comes time to report on your campaign.
Side by side with audience values are the reporting metrics. If you value impressions, then why are you reporting on engagement rate? Yes, engagement might be key to obtaining more impressions over time, but it only makes sense to first report on the metrics that are closest to dollar evaluation Instead, try reporting in the order of your organization’s sales funnel. It’ll make your metrics count for more.
Look, word-of-mouth is social media’s shtick. We get that. But unless you’ve already built a fan base online that is excited about what you’re doing and interacting with you, organic growth comes very slowly. Likely way too slow for you and your brand. That’s why amplification dollars (AKA: paid social) is so important. It helps brands clear the clutter of what everyone else is saying and helps make their message count. The social landscape is way too competitive to rely on organic growth. Although we no longer fight for time or space like in traditional media, we still fight for users’ attention. Facebook even has an algorithm that decides the content, which is absolutely biased against brands. In a 3-month period alone in 2014, the algorithm dialed brand organic reach from 12% average to just above 2% average. Paid social helps fight this, so those brands that use it end up being more successful in the long term.
Social media has (sometimes rightly) been labeled the black sheep of marketing because it’s a softer type of marketing with less measurable success. But it doesn’t have to be. Clearly define your target audience and their value(s), track and report on the right metrics and use paid social to amplify your message and your campaign will stand the best chance of success.