Benefits of Social Media for Business ROI
In recent posts, we discussed how to set value to your company’s social currency as well as how to best interact with the increasingly savvy social buyer. Think of those posts as the introductory conversation regarding Social Media ROI, Return on Investment.
While ROI has historically been measured in hard dollars based on sales number statistics, the rules change a bit when measuring the Social Media ROI. Much like we discussed, it is the value of a brand, or brand equity, which is the real measuring stick for Social Media ROI. So, how can you measure your brand equity effectively?
Measuring Brand Equity
There are four criteria to consider when measuring the brand equity to gauge Social Media ROI. Metrics should cover the reach, lead generation, customer engagement and brand affinity within the target market to assess the success and true ROI of any social media marketing plan. Let’s evaluate these criteria individually to see how they work together to assess your Social Media ROI.
Measuring the reach of your articles, posts, tweets and other content shared through your social media network is the first step to gauging your Social Media ROI. It’s important to know who likes your content, who shares it and who subscribes to RSS feeds or pages to keep up with what you have to say.
Whenever a social contact retweets your content, shares it on their page or profile or links to it from their site or blog, it extends the reach of your content to their audience as well as your own, building your brand awareness beyond your initial outreach efforts.
Lead generation is at the heart of many social media campaigns. That being said, measuring the effectiveness of your lead generation within your social media network can tell you a lot about your brand equity. Are you adding subscribers to your blog on a regular basis? Are your readers clicking through to your website or following the “Read More” link from your email marketing? If so, you know you’re generating leads from your Social Media Marketing efforts. Tip: Bit.ly link shortening system offers real-time CTR measurement and metrics that show you what content is driving clicks, from what sites and the geographic locations of the clicks.
CTR also speaks to the engagement factor of your social media content within you target market, but it is not the whole story. Retweets, comments, likes and shares of any content or post you put online are telling of how deeply your contacts are engaged with your pages or profiles.
Just a step away from engagement, your contacts’ affinity for your brand reflects how passionate they are about your company, services or products. Drilling down into the engagement measurement allows companies to see not only who shares your content, but how enthusiastically they do it. For example, say you post a tweet asking your followers to “retweet”, you can get a good idea of which followers have a real affinity for your brand by how they retweet at your request. Do they simply forward it on, which is a bonus for your brand, or do they post a note to their followers like “Hey everyone – HAD to share this incredible info from XYZ company” before the post? It’s those prospects or clients that kick it up with some enthusiasm that can be counted in the “affinity” metric.
Social Media ROI can be measured, it just takes looking a little more closely at the metrics you are probably already measuring each month. Click thru’s, conversations and shared content are all earmarks to your Social Media ROI. Gauge it regularly to assess the successes your brand gains from social media marketing and where you need to change focus or direction to gain higher returns from your plan.