Fighting the Good Fight: Explaining Social ROI to the C-Suite
Even though social media has evolved substantially over recent years, many working in the industry still struggle to analyze and measure the value of their work - particularly when it comes to explaining the benefits to executives. Explaining the impact that social can have on marketing, PR and customer service remains challenging as does proving ROI in a language that the C-suite can understand. In order to prove true value it's critical to build metrics based on data that C-suite can easily digest and clearly map back to true business goals and objectives.
Here are 5 tips to do just that:
- Understand Marketing and Sales Objectives - and Social's Role in Achieving Them
Before social even comes into play it's important to understand exactly how social fits your company's overall marketing and sales strategy. Clearly, this is going to be different for each company. For big multinationals, social may be more of a brand awareness tool - for a utility company it may focus on social customer service, and for B2B firms a method of attracting highly qualified customers through thought-provoking content. Whatever your strategy may be, you need to decide how social fits in and then work out the metrics you need to track against marcom goals.
- Create a Measurement System Based on Those Objectives
Once you've decided how social fits into your broad sales and marketing objectives the next step is to create a measurement dashboard that puts your data into context. Metrics can be measured against key competitors, against industry standards, past performance, or all three - but the key is to stay consistent in frequency and what type of data you track. This way the numbers you pull will be reliable, accurate and useful.
- Throw Away Numbers That Aren't Relevant To Your Goals
There are a lot of social media metrics out there so it's very important to be picky about which ones you will track, otherwise you'll soon be overwhelmed. Only keep the metrics that are pivotal to your overarching goals - whether they are engagement rates, sentiment figures or total share of voice - and leave the other, less meaningful, metrics on the back burner.
- Map Social Data Against Other Sales and Marketing Data
For C-suite the impact that social, marketing and sales activities have on the bottom line is often the most important factor when making key decisions. Social data on its own doesn't always paint an accurate picture of marketing and sales ROI but when combined with other kinds of data such website traffic data or sales data it becomes easier to prove the worth of social media activity. The key here is to plot these data sets on the same graph so correlations can be spotted quickly and easily. Which brings us on to...
- Good Graphics That Make a Difference
Throwing an endless stream of numbers at executives is rarely a good way to catch their interest or prove the value of your efforts. Similarly, overly complex graphs and charts are an instant turn off. Instead spend some time distilling your key numbers into a few visually appealing, simple but powerful graphics and your efforts to explain social data will be much more effective.
To wrap up, proving the ROI of social isn't always easy. But by tying social goals clearly in to overall marketing and sales objectives, integrating social data with others sales and marketing data and by taking the time to simplify and narrow down your key results, social media professionals can make sure the C-suite knows how valuable social can be to improving the bottom-line.
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