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5 ways to look at Social Media Return on Investment

Building on our previous post, we now look at another question from the “2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report” article.

“How do I measure the return on my social media investment?”

For many this is the million dollar question, 87% of marketers surveyed responded that they aren’t sure how to measure social media ROI.  With 86% of marketers responding that social media is important to their businesses, wouldn’t it be helpful to know how important?


Here are five articles that will help your company appropriately measure the importance of your social media efforts.


1. 5 Dead Simple Ways to Track Social Media ROI
– Todd Wasserman, Mashable


Todd explains that marketers have been spoiled with search advertising and its last-click attribution. Social media on the other hand is closer to a billboard in terms of traceability. There is no way of tracking who saw a billboard, same with a Facebook post or a Tweet. You can estimate the number of people that drove past the billboard, as is the same with your Facebook posts and Tweets. Todd suggests simple ways of tracking conversions by using Facebook’s new conversion measurement tool to using different phone numbers on different ads you will be able to use these tips to help future allocations in your marketing spend.


Marketers often write off social media as brand channel rather than a conversion driver… Much like a billboard, you can measure effectiveness by using different phone numbers.


2. How to Improve Your Social Media Marketing Return on Investment – Rachel Sprung, Social Media Examiner


As you’re implementing your social media strategy, it’s important to keep your business goals in mind. Rachel shares some tips to tie in your ROI measurement with your everyday social media habits. She explains that URL tags are key when tracing incoming clicks from different sources, especially on social channels. Use surveys across your site; following a lead acquisition, or a visitor to your site ask them “How did you hear about us?” The results of these will make it easy to determine your cost per impression and cost per lead.


3. Ways to Measure Social Media Marketing ROI – Chris Street, Social Media Today


Everyone knows what ROI stands for but do you know what ROR stands for? Chris explores why people ask the common question: “When are we going to start seeing new business from this?” According to his perspective, time spent developing the brand and its relationships provides a better return than an attribution model trying to gauge the monetary impact of tweet or Facebook post.  Social media’s real value resides in connecting with prospects and developing mutually beneficial relationships. The author suggests measuring ROR, or Return on Relationships to be a more valuable metric to measure success and effectiveness.


4. Social Media ROI: It’s Not One Size Fits All – Blog and Whitepaper; Courtney Seiter, Raven


Social media measurement can be daunting at times, and Raven’s whitepaper helps you resolve your daily ROI questions. From click-through rate to sentiment and applause rate, it breaks down 30 different metrics in great detail, providing context around why the metric matters and how it should be measured. It even covers some lesser known metrics like applause rate, which measures approval actions, or virtual “applause,” including +1s, likes, thumbs-ups, favorites, etc., on your content from your audience.


5. Social at the Heart Creates Impact
– Wendy Clark, Coca-Cola Buzzworthy


Coca-Cola made headlines this year after a marketing team member revealed “online buzz has no measurable impact on short-term sales.” This came as a shock to many given that Coca-Cola’s perceived heavy invested in social media over the past few years and is the most liked brand on Facebook with over 70 million likes on its flagship page. Although they have not proven social media didn’t directly produce more revenue, it has a seat at the table in Coca-Cola’s integrated marketing approach as a strong brand channel. Wendy elaborates on Coca-Cola’s revised approach: “No single medium is as strong as the combination of media.” With its target market using three screens simultaneously, social media lets Coca-Cola connect in real time with its customers, increasing it’s “reach, engagement, love and value.” While your tweet or Facebook post may not directly lead to a sales conversion, it can be an important and necessary branding tool.


Every company has their own view on ROI. Some like to attribute a dollar for dollar value, while others prefer to measure in terms of thought leadership and return on relationship value. Tell us your view on social ROI. Share it in the comments below or send a tweet our way @methodsavvy.

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