Last week we challenged "social media ROI." In fact, we quashed the ROI myth and gave you the K.I.S.S truth.
Instead of focusing on quantifying an ROI we told you, social media delivers one of two things:
1. Starts a conversation with your audience and/or;
2. A customer service and/or reputation management channel
So before giving social a wide berth, remember: just because it's hard to place solid ROI on social media, doesn't mean it's not effective.
Measuring the true effectiveness of social media
METRICS FOR STARTING A CONVERSATION
Customer engagement and advocacy
Simply measuring numbers of fans and followers is just that: numbers. If people follow and never interact then you've not built an engaged following. Quality over quantity wins every time. To measure customer engagement and advocacy you need to measure interactions. These include: retweets, @mentions, shares, post likes and post comments. Want to know more about measuring engagement? Check out Hootsuite's beginners guide to measuring engagement: here.
Media coverage (PR)
Has your social media activity attracted outside or mainstream media coverage? Has your activity led to other opportunities such as invitations to speak at a conference or comment on a news story? Your social media is telling your story. And when the mainstream media want to amplify that story - then your social media is working it's socks off.
If you're seeking to change brand perception or increase brand awareness you need to measure it. The most effective way of measuring your brand awareness and/or brand perception is by using an outsourced market research agency. However, if this is outside budget (which it usually is for small business) conduct some research in-house. But before you do, understand how to conduct the research for effective results.
On a basic level measure branded traffic and direct traffic to your site. The more people searching your brand or business name is a good indication of your brand awareness. However, whilst your social activity may have increased brand awareness or improved brand perception, can this solely be attributed to your social activity or other marketing tactics at play?
An app that can help you quantify this:
- Which city, language, and social network are your most important
- Tracking your competitors' campaigns and conversations in real-time
- Identifying which social followers are your most valuable leads
- Monitor sentiment, conversation spikes, and campaigns in 55 languages
METRICS FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE AND REPUTATION MANAGEMENT
If you're using social media as a customer service channel then ROI is superfluous. Most customer service departments don't report on ROI, so why should your social media? Traditional customer service metrics apply here, like; number of queries received, resolved, escalated and time it to took to resolve each enquiry.
The power of social media reputation management is often overlooked because if it's working you don't see it. Think of reputation management as how much might averting a PR disaster be worth? Hard to quantify, but invaluable.
Using ROI as a metric to measure the success of social media is problematic. Not only does social not deliver statistically great ROI stats compared to other channels it also doesn't consider assisted conversions and intangible (but super valuable) benefits.
Social media is about conversation not broadcast. But just because an activity doesn't have tangible ROI, doesn't mean it's not valuable.