Clients often ask how we measure ROI on a social media campaign and that is a tough question as, being a dyed in the wool marketer, I know that ROI is a business metric and not a media metric.
So, how do we determine if our client is achieving ‘ROI’ on the social media marketing activity we are engaging in?
Social media marketing activity has a lot of ‘unmeasurable’ benefits to businesses that use it for example many will claim it is through using social media as part of marketing that they formed new partnerships or cut their marketing costs and others will expound on the vast improvement of their search engine rankings and even others will claim that it definitely helps them attract and close new business.
What a lot of clients have been told is that social media marketing will have a definitive ROI as sales will increase dramatically. Unfortunately it’s not that simple.
There are a number of metrics we use to measure our social media marketing efforts for clients and in each case they change as each client is very different. Any marketer will tell you that the first rule of thumb when starting a marketing or advertising campaign is to set objectives.
We advise our clients to consider what metrics we could use to measure whether or not we’ve achieved realistic results against the objectives set at the start of the campaign. One of the easiest and true metrics to use for social media marketing campaign success is site traffic.
The only drawback is that social media can be used in a number of ways to drive traffic to a website but this doesn’t necessarily mean you can make that ‘community’ of traffic buy once they are at the designated destination! Clients can be dismayed when sales are not reflected against traffic volumes.
In a straight retail situation the sole purpose of a social media campaign could be to encourage purchase online, but for other clients within the B2B market or a different type of consumer service, it’s more difficult, especially if the marketer doesn’t have control of the website the traffic is being directed to.
In this case we would explore other metrics to use like:
Number of conversions Number of ‘likers’ or ‘fans’ Number of page views Mentions/comments Income/revenue Virality of posts
A client needs to define overall business objectives for us to work with to ensure that we are applying the right metrics to measure the campaign by as they will change according to which objectives are set. Objectives we are often faced with are:
Increase short term sales Increase brand awareness Increase traffic and search engine ranking Engage existing customers Increase online visibility Add impetus to a traditional marketing campaign Spread news and information
With a full and comprehensive social media marketing campaign implemented over a certain time, we can accomplish all of these and more but it’s best to focus on a few.
What it all boils down to is identifying the value of the social media marketing efforts to that particular client for that particular campaign by determining:
Have marketing costs decreased as a result? Have sales increased as a result? Has brand visibility increased as a result? Is the company gaining a better or improved reputation? Is there now a developed ‘community’ for this company to engage with on an ongoing basis? Has the public perception of their service improved? Has the company derived value from the community in terms of research and development of services?
Measuring social media activity with ordinary business metrics doesn’t work as there is so much more to be gained from a social media marketing campaign and a lot of that gain has no metrics to measure it by.