Measuring social media ROI seems to be a priority for nearly all businesses playing in the social media space. In the end, everyone wants to know what effect this evolving tactic will have on the bottom line, how the investment is paying off in the short term vs. long term and if social media is an investment that should be increased, decreased, or continued. Whether a business focuses on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Instagram, Pinterest or other niche platforms the answers to these questions are critical to overall tactical success.
Few people seem to believe that social media has no value, but assigning an accurate monetary value to social efforts is difficult. Mashable recently published an article that is very helpful for those who need to tie efforts back to an investment. Mashable highlighted five strategies/tools that are commonly overlooked on Facebook that can be easily integrated into a social media strategy to transparently show the ROI of different campaigns. These strategies include:
- Coupons and Offers
- Call Tracking Phone Numbers
- Conversion Measurement
- Google Analytics Integration
- Reverse Measurement through Insights
Each of these tools, along with existing tools like trackable URL redirects, custom Facebook tabs and social integration to ongoing campaigns can provide marketers with an ACTUAL NUMBER that they can use to show the value of their social channels. Take a moment to read up on how Google Analtyics can provide additional clarity through their Social tab.
Some brands, like Skittles, don’t use social media as a revenue generator so they’re not concerned with achieving ROI. Instead, they leverage their social strategy to share the company’s image and culture with millions of people on a platform they use everyday. The hardest part about measuring social media ROI is that it exhibits the same problem that traditional mass marketing (like TV and newspaper/journal advertising) has been trying to better understand for the past century: What is exposure worth? In the case of Skittles, it’s worth a dedicated team that is not expected to generate any revenue. If your company is striving for awareness over any other measurement with your social campaigns, you should consider what that investment is costing and what the payoff may be in the end. Awareness is not a bad social strategy, but it’s not right for everyone.