Social media can be a bit of a dark art when it comes to ROI.
It seems that everyone is publishing content, and just 'being present' across the social sphere is no longer an option. If you're investing the time and budget but not seeing tangible results, where's the value?
Social media doesn't have to be cryptic. It can be highly measurable AND return ROI - Here's 3 tips on proving the value of your social media, and driving real return from those tweets and posts.
1. Setting Goals
What do you want to achieve from the resource, time and money you're investing?
Goal setting is the first step in measuring the return from your social activity and knowing your end goal is essential, whether that's increased awareness, reach or engagement.
But before you set goals based on increasing awareness or reach, you need to understand how your social media activity links to your overall business goals - are you aiming to drive more website traffic, raise brand awareness or generate more leads?
By understanding how your social media activity can affect your business goals, you'll have a clear view of the value (and return) of the activity, you're doing against your investment.
Set specific business goals for your social media activity that tie to your business goals of lead generation or brand awareness. Then set clear KPI's, such as engagement levels or website traffic, that can help you prove success and therefore the value of your social activity.
2. Track Your Activity
You can only monitor progress if you rigorously track your activity, and this means attributing every social post to a specific piece of content or activity. Without this clear attribution, tracking improvement becomes impossible (so beware!).
All the major social media platforms have built-in analytics and each social platform can produce reams of data in the form of downloadable excel sheets. By digging deep into your activity, you'll understand what's working and what isn't. That's a great start, but it's how you interpret these metrics (against your goals) that will make the difference when proving return.
Build an in-depth social media dashboard to capture your data, but beware of the dreaded 'fluff' - Read about the worst offenders in this Social Media Today article. Remove any vanity metrics from your tool kit and just measure the essential KPIs to give a clear indication of progress towards your business goals.
3. Report and Review Progress
Social media isn't an activity you visit once a year with a half-hearted plan. You'll need to continually review and hone your activity as you track performance towards your goals.
The key thing with measuring your social media ROI isn't just to prove the value of your campaigns, but to improve and increase their worth over time.
Schedule regular reviews of performance to ensure you're still heading towards those crucial business goals. During reviews, ask for input from key players in your sales and marketing team as a great way of building some outside opinion too - and don't forget to share your successes with the wider business to really prove the value of your activity.
Social Media for B2B industries is becoming less about broadcasting and more about inputting to an ongoing conversation. With the current social media user count at over 1 billion, that's a very big conversation!
With a bigger emphasis on conversing with our audiences, B2B marketers need to rethink what ROI means when it comes to social media activity. It's no longer as simple as spending X and generating Y in return it's all about getting to know your audience, and engaging with them in a meaningful way. Get this right, and you'll be their go to choice for knowledge, advice and (most importantly) business.
Ready to drive real return from your social media? Download the 3 Step Guide Here.