How to Measure your Social Media Strategy
Measuring the ROI from social media is a widely debated topic. Marketers around the world have their most important task set out for them: What are the benefits of their marketing efforts?
Then arises the next question: Can the ROI from social media be measured? The answer is yes. But it’s not always easy. Here are six fundamental points to consider:
1. Decide and understand your objective
If you want to measure ROI on social media, it’s important to first decide on your objective for being on social media. If the investment is not clear, how can the return on it be? So your metrics to measure ROI would be different if your objective is generating sales vs. raising awareness, for example.
2. Filter and know what’s possible
Not every company can measure the same metrics. If you’re an e-commerce company, your metrics will be different than if you are not an e-commerce company. Understand what is possible and required, then remove the metrics that are not important.
3. Decide on metrics vs. effects
The traditional way to measure ROI is sales minus expenses, divided by expenses, expressed as a percentage. There is no other formula. But sometimes getting true ROI is difficult.
In such instances, you can choose to examine how success on social media has had an effect on your business — for example, a successful social media campaign has led to a spike in sales, etc. You are seeing whether business success has increased with social success, or at least is slightly trailing it.
4. Select the metrics
Once you have gone through the above steps, pick out the actual metrics that make sense for your company. This actually needs to be done before you start or get heavily involved with social media, so as to avoid later selecting metrics that only look favorable. It is advisable to pick three important metrics, as measuring too much is worse than measuring too little.
5. Share the data
If you need your whole company supporting your social media initiatives (which is advisable), you should share the ROI data with them and not treat it as confidential. This will probably get your whole company to begin internal discussions and form ideas to improve your social media efforts.
6. Look beyond metrics, too
Social media is a dialogue, not a monologue. It involves your customer service, community management and operations teams. Thus, you should ask these teams in your company to document instances where, for example, a customer who complained via social media was delighted by your company through resolving his complaint.
The point is to look beyond the obvious metrics and not miss out on something awesome done on social media by your company. After all, these instances can also be considered to be the “return” on your social media investment.