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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.)

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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.

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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.

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



Join The Conversation

  • HeatherBartel's picture
    Jul 23 Posted 2 years ago HeatherBartel

    Thank you, Dmytry. 

  • creeon's picture
    Jul 23 Posted 2 years ago creeon

    Cool post

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