You're investing time-which is money-and possibly actual funds on social media. How do you know what ROI (return on investment) you're getting for these efforts?Is there a way to measure your social media ROI? You won't know unless you set up tools to help you identify what works, what isn't working too well, and areas for improvement. Social media ROI is subtler than in advertising. It takes longer to make an impact, but when it does, the payoff can be valuable. Spend some time with a social media expert to learn more about ROI in this paradigm and how to manage it. But before you do this, take a little time to actually see what it looks like.
Social Media ROI - Then And Now
It has only been a few years since social media really began turning heads in terms of actually "needing it" for both small businesses and corporations alike. Conversations around the topic of social media typically consisted of addressing that it is a nice-to-have and establishing a plan to create an online presence for a particular company, brand, product, and/or service across a variety of social media platforms. The caveat to these ideas came with the next follow-up question, which was something along the lines of the following: "How will this make us money?" Answering this question left a lot of marketers, brand managers, and social media gurus scratching their heads to come up with an answer, especially one that could be backed up with cold hard facts. For those responsible for creating and executing any other type of marketing programs, such as an email campaign for example, this question could be easily answered by plugging in data from previous tactics and churning out a ballpark ROI figure. But when it came to social media, and trying to put a ROI dollar figure next to how much $1 from a marketing budget could generate on Facebook, the answer was usually, "I don't know." This in turn moved the conversation about social media in the direction of "we know it's something we need, however, we're not really sure how to generate and track revenue from it."
Yes, You Do Need A Social Media Presence
If you worry no one is noticing your tweets or visiting your website, don't despair because unless you have some kind of monitor in place, you really don't know for sure. Plus, it takes time and repeated, steady effort to make a dent on social media. It's unusual to see a strong ROI within three months; six months is more usual. At this point, people following you on Twitter will start retweeting and responding, or Liking a post on your Facebook business page. To stroke ROI, you have to pay attention to the sites you use. This means regularly checking your Facebook page (at least once a day) to respond to questions and comments left on it, and to post something interesting for your visitors to read and hopefully, share on their own pages. Make your page interesting, invite friends to visit and Like it, and you'll start to those numbers go up. For Twitter, check the tweets you receive a couple of times a day, retweet what's interesting, and tweet items newsworthy to your followers/customers. Take time to visit the pages of people you follow if they aren't very active tweeters; they may have something useful for you to share as well.
Use ROI Tools Attached To Your Social Media Accounts
Facebook business pages include two tabs-Activity and Insights-important to study to understand what can make your page useful to customers and potential ones.
- The Activity tab includes a Notifications list showing links people like, and who they are. This can help identify trends. It also has a link for Messages people send privately (e.g., not posted on the site)The Insights tab graphically shows data on the page's Likes, the reach your Posts make, and
- Engagement-the number of Likes, comments, shares, and clicks on a link you provided. Similar data are provided for Posts, including paid ones (advertisements).
Twitter will send weekly stats to your email, but they are pretty basic:
- Total views you received
- Number of new followers
- Number of replies to your tweets
- Photo clicks
Twitter provides a more robust dashboard detailing activity from ads and promoted tweets. It recently added organic statistics as well. You must sign up on Twitter Ads to get it, but you don't have to actually purchase anything (at least not for now). You will see graphics showing your tweets, retweets, replies, impressions, and engagements. It also provides analytics on your followers: their interests, location, and who else they follow.