How To Prove That Social ROI Is Not A Unicorn

By Patrick Whatman

Tracking the return on investment (ROI) from social media is a big problem for brands.

A 2014 study found that only 17% of digital marketers know how to measure social ROI. Yet 90% of marketers also feel that social media is important to their business.

There’s a disconnect here.

But here’s the thing – it doesn’t have to be difficult. You simply have to know the right metrics to monitor, and have good tools in place.

Let’s take a look at why – and how – you should go about this, to make smarter business decisions.

Why you should measure social media ROI

It’s not a trick question. For your business to succeed, you need to use tactics that you know work.

The fact is, many brands use social media simply because everyone else is. They invest time and energy to post content that just sits there. Or maybe those posts drive serious traffic and lead to sales – but they either don’t know or can’t prove it.

Tracking social ROI will help you decide whether to:

– Step up your investment and dedicate more resources
– Scale back your social effort
– Diversify your approach to find new channels that might work
– Continue exactly as you are

The point is, you shouldn’t use social media marketing “just because.” If you’re going to put money into this strategy, you have to know if it’s worth it.

For example, GetMaineLobster improved their marketing strategy once they started tracking social ROI. It turned out that social media simply wasn’t generating sales, and they ended up letting six staff members go.

The result for you doesn’t need to be quite so dramatic. But until you monitor your social performance properly, you’re really just guessing that it works.

Begin with clear goals

What do you actually hope to achieve with social media? There are so many marketing opportunities on these platforms that it’s tempting to try everything.

But to begin, you’re best to clearly define your most important objectives. What are you going to judge your performance (and your team’s) on?

Your goals might be to:

– Increase brand exposure
– Send traffic to your website
– Generate marketing leads
– Sell your product

Now try to make these more specific. How much site traffic would you like to gain? And by when? Give yourself a target and a timeframe, then commit to assessing your performance when the time comes.

Of course to do this, you need to start collecting evidence.

Track the right metrics

In order to really measure ROI, we need data. It’s not enough to simply say that social media “seems to be helping.” We want proof.

Jay Baer says the best way to approach this is not to think of social media ROI as some catch-all. Instead, “define and measure specific customer behaviors” that have value to your brand.

For example, offer discount codes and special offers through social media. When customers redeem these, you have direct evidence that they came to you from social media. You can even use different codes for different platforms to figure out which is best for your brand.

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Source:: Business2Community