ROI on social media – what do you need to know?

Social media is now a BIG part of a business’s marketing activity and this means that the ROI on social media is more important than ever before.
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roi social media

Social media is now a BIG part of a business’s marketing activity. Investments are made in creative, content and also, resources. So it is no surprise that many people within the business are keen to understand how it is paying back.

And this means that the ROI on social media activity is one of the most debated, most complicated and often one of the biggest conversations that marketing teams have within their business.

ROI is surely straight forward on social!

We know customers and consumers use social media platforms for learning more about (and engaging with) products and services, as well as the businesses and brands behind these. The instant way to connect the two together, on a platform which the business manages, should mean ROI is a straight forward discussion, right?

Not necessarily so, and we would be lying if we said it was.

Social media marketing is never going to produce an ROI in the traditional sense that marketers look for (marketing measured against the cost of operating the business and profit generated). Many businesses expect social media to deliver results the same as other marketing programmes – put a certain amount of money in, and expect more to come out.

What can we look at and learn from?

While we can look at statistics like conversion rates and agree a cost model against these (ONLY at the appropriate time of the sales funnel), what is incredibly hard to measure, is the VALUE of relationships that businesses and brands build with their customers and consumers.

Social media marketing is much more about advocacy, interaction and inclusion and less about ROI (in its traditional sense). For example, Apple, FedEx, Burger King or Innocent Smoothies (hell, even Facebook) recognise social media marketing as an integral part of how they spend their marketing budget, time and resources as part of a bigger picture.

So what should businesses and brands do? It’s important to create a culture of understanding that social media marketing results are not based on traditional ROI measurements alone.

Measurements that matter on social media, dependent on the agreed overall social media objective, include:

  • Frequency and reach
  • Views, followers, brand mentions, subscribers, click-throughs
  • Influence and recall
  • Clicks, shares, replies, comments, retweets, messages and community growth
  • Conversions
  • Opt-ins, email collection, proposals, pitches, lead generation and returning visitors

And remember social media is just part of the journey

Social media platforms should be optimised to maximise reach, show people that the business or brand is approachable and worth engaging with so prospects and consumers might eventually turn into customers. And once there is a potential prospect who’s ready to know more about the product or service, they need to be directed to a specific, thought through asset, like a website homepage or a specific landing page, to close the transaction.

It’s a silly but appropriate saying for social media: you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. And that there is where social media pays back, by getting your prospect or consumer primed to make that much sought after click.

Is your social media activity optimised correctly so you can start to look at where it is delivering? Drop us a line if you would like a chat about your social media and how you can look at how it is delivering for your business.

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