Social media return on investment, it’s like a mythical flying dragon that is rarely seen yet heard of often. The townspeople all gather round and tell tales of the elusive ROI, how it’s measured and if it even really does exist.
Social media return on investment (ROI) is a hot topic, now and for the foreseeable future. There is much debate currently on effectively measuring social media and if there really is any sort of actual return. It is surprising to some degree the amount of people that are trying to figure out what their return is by placing a value on the number of fans and followers one has. Confusion surrounds the value of a tweet, re-tweets, shares, likes, fans and followers. What is the true worth of all of these particular social media actions and how do we appropriately measure the value of them?
Everything starts with the right audience; if you are speaking to the wrong people then you simply will not see any return on your investment, bottom line. To look at things simply, let us consider two companies that sell high-end fishing equipment that are both competing to reach the same audience. Each company has 100 Facebook fans, however, they cultivated their following in much different ways. Fishing company “A” has 80% of their following as avid fishing fans while fishing company “B” poorly targeted and cultivated their audience with a gimmicky giveaway to gain fans and for that only has 20% of their following as avid fishermen. You can see here that the true value of these fans will differ greatly despite the similarity in the number of fans. Appropriately targeting your audience in the cultivation stage of your social following will have a great impact on any ROI you are looking to measure in social media.
Now on to appropriately identify your goals. If you do not set a particular goal at the start of initiating a social media campaign you will have no idea what you need to be looking at to measure your results.
Please note that social media ROI is going to differ depending on who your are and what you are looking to achieve so please don’t think that there is simply one way to measure and attain ROI on your social endeavors. Brands have different goals when it comes to social media, some are trying to cultivate a fan base while others are looking to increase sales, gain leads, or simply use it as a method to communicate with their customers. Either way the measure of ROI will be different for each.
Identifying these aspects will help you understand what you need to be looking at when it comes to measurement. If I am simply looking to get fans to subscribe to my mailing list, how easy am I making it for my current fans to subscribe? There are a lot of ways to go about doing this but the measure of success is simply going to be how many people did I add to my mailing list.
Considering other factors, did you spend the past 40 hours of the work week messaging to your fan base to “check out this link to sign up” only to result in 50 people actually signing up? Probably not the best social ROI considering the time and effort you put into gaining those new subscribers. It is time to switch some things up in how you are getting people to sign up for your mailing list and increase that social ROI, which is your time and effort, at least for this campaign.
Social media is a journey and not a destination, measuring return on investment will have you looking at and breaking down many individual parts of your social goals. The journey is long folks, here’s hoping you all find that mythical creature that is social media ROI.