Rethink Social Media ROI

Heather Bartel Director, Marketing, evolve24

Posted on July 23rd 2014

Rethink Social Media ROI

Useful Social Media (USM) recently released its 2014 State of Corporate Social Media Briefing, which I was privileged to take part in. Like most reports, this was conducted by reaching out and interviewing people in corporate social media roles – a traditional approach to market research. (There are companies that use a new approach to market research and mine social media conversations.)

Image of Rethink Social ROI

Graph via Useful Social Media (USM): 2014 State of Corporate Social Media Briefing

Regardless of research approach, one thing continues to ring true for marketers using social media: the need to demonstrate value to the bottom line, or at least in terms the C-Suite considers “valuable.” It’s scary that only 50% responded that their C-Suite is convinced of social’s value. USM’s position is that corporate social media marketers can glean the most insight from their peers, and I don’t disagree.

There’s a big difference between what’s IDEAL and what you SHOULD do versus REALITY and what you CAN do.

Every company, team, marketers has unique variables; things like time, budget, resources, executive support, talent, creative, and so on and so on. Plus it bears repeating that you must first define your strategy, goals and objectives, and (perhaps, most important) how you will measure success.

Image of Rethink Social ROI

Graph via Useful Social Media (USM): 2014 State of Corporate Social Media Briefing

If you don’t have those critical components in place, you’re basically flying the plane while constructing it.

That’s something every marketer can relate to.   

It’s equally scary to think that only 34% of us think our measurement of social’s impact is accurate. We have some work to do. Based on some of the results from USM’s briefing, these ideas came to mind to help our industry rethink the value we demonstrate from our social programs so the C-Suite takes note.

USM Finding

How to Rethink It

The top 3 KPIs marketers track are followers, web traffic and engagement. (excerpt from USM’s Briefingpictured below)


TIP: Executives care about growing the business so you should think about revenue, cost per unit and pipeline growth.

  • Focus more on conversions. Whether it’s downloading resources, signing up for a webinar or agreeing to speak to a “sales” person.
  • Cross reference “new” clients/customers to your social groups (i.e. followers) to benchmark and track the percentage of overlap.
  • Correlate Revenue with Brand Reputation. If your social efforts resonate, they should impact your company’s overall health, too. Maybe that’s a Reputation Score or perhaps your stock price.
74% place brand and communications as most important.


TIP: Measure emotion. What does your audience care about most? Go beyond volume and sentiment of conversations and hit the heart.

Find a company that can measure the emotional intensity of the discussions and topics you’re already tracking. Bonus points if they find organic topics you might not even be thinking about. This will require an investment but it saves big by giving you answer to “where to focus” and “how” to message so it resonates.Google+, Pinterest and Instagram are “rocketing”  up the chart of most popular social channels.


TIP: Not every channel makes sense for every brand. Find out where your audience “hangs out,” then see if you have content that fits the appropriate use for that channel.

Research how people use various social channels and how that use can support your goals and objectives.Pinterest is awesome for highly visual brands trying to drive traffic to its site with tips, recipes and life hacks. Instagram doesn’t drive traffic to the web but helps share a lifestyle or sense of fashion. Google+ integrates with YouTube and Events, which are cornerstones of a consultancy.

As social marketers, it’s often hard to take time to connect the dots on all the metrics we can capture; making our datainactionable versus something to help us get better results. Take a look at the rest of USM’s briefing here and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Image of Rethink Social ROI

Graph via Useful Social Media (USM): 2014 State of Corporate Social Media Briefing




Heather Bartel

Director, Marketing, evolve24

Heather Bartel is the Director of Marketing for evolve24, a digital consumer insights company that moves clients beyond social media monitoring to actionable intelligence with leading-edge technology and advanced analytics. Heather leads brand, marketing and communications functions to raise awareness of evolve24’s big data science, analytics and research services and generate new business opportunities. A digital native with a multi-disciplined communications background, in the past she has managed strategic marketing and digital communications programs for Abbott, AT&T, Enterprise Holdings, Merck, Visa, and more. Heather keeps tabs on the latest trends in social media and enjoys helping businesses adapt to the social business environment.

A St. Louis Cardinals fan and Starbucks fiend, Heather lives in St. Louis with her husband and three dogs.

Favorite Quote:
“In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” – Eric Hoffer

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Posted on July 23rd 2014 at 6:40AM

Cool post

Posted on July 23rd 2014 at 7:07PM

Thank you, Dmytry.