Social Media ROI

For small business owners ROI on any investment is crucially important, and it can make jumping into social media pretty scary because of the lack of hard numbers. I’ve written about this before, but this post from Jay Deragon really hits the mark and I have to put my .02 in  again.

So often when I present on social media somebody in the room wants metrics to gauge the success of the campaign. The question about metrics is, what data would be valuable to you and how do me measure it accurately? Of course you can measure the increase in traffic, the number of comments and links to your blog, the number of users and posts in a forum, how many views of a podcast. but how does that translate to sales? Do those metrics tell you the value of your campaign?

There are other–perhaps more valuable–metrics to consider.

  • Long term relationships and establishing authority in your area of expertise
  • The value of engagement with your user base on a personal rather than database level
  • Are you able to convert negative conversations into positive ones?
  • Are you able to reach demographics that don’t respond to traditional media?
  • Is social media able to reach your market and engage them faster than previously?
  • Is it possible to spot trends far enough in advance to direct or at least get ahead of them?
  • Can your social media presence create volunteer evangelists?

We gotta do what we gotta do, and many of us who work in social media have gone to great lengths to either create or locate our own systems for gathering metrics on social media ROI. I use a combination of tools depending on the client and what the most important things to track are for them, and which platforms they’re implementing. Getting that balance right and finding as much as we can about a particular niche is getting easier every day. We’ve come a long way from log files and field interviews to judge sentiment.

If you want to put together your own campaign, there’s an excellent collection of case studies to learn from and some measurement tools  on Colin Browning’s site Constructing Social, and Helen Lawrence thoughtfully compiled a Wiki for all the statistics we can find on the various platforms. I  wrote a post on tools to help you track your brand and your social media profile here. These links will give you a lot to think about when defining both what you’re going to measure and how you’re going to do it. Once you read some of these studies the value of social media marketing is undeniable. Now you just need to decide what flavors of social media to start with.

Thanks to Jeenifer for the link to this video on social media ROI from Jason Fall’s site featuring KD Payne. I’m adding it here ‘cuz it’s just to good to miss, but you really need to read Jason’s post too.