Calculating Social Media ROI (Return on Investment) is a little tricky. So many folks don’t bother trying to link analytics like ROI to evaluate your social media marketing efforts. Others default to simple metrics, such as Likes and Followers, which we call vanity metrics. But without some notion of your Social Media returns, firms are uncomfortable investing or increasing their investment in social media.
Social Media ROI
I’ve created several posts to guide marketers on assessments of social media ROI, but here’s another take from UberVU, now a part of Hootsuite. I thought I’d take an in-depth look at the strategy underpining this infographic.
Measuring Social Media ROI
Businesses are getting much more sophisticated in the way they measure social media ROI. Businesses go well beyond meaningless metrics like the number of Fans or Followers, to assess metrics that have a REAL impact on your ROI.
Here are some examples:
Attitude Toward the Brand
A vast number of studies show the strong link between attitude toward the brand and behaviors that create ROI — specifically, buying the brand. Attitude toward the brand also motivates folks to recommend the brand.
So, it’s good to see more businesses measure sentiment, with almost no one measuring sentiment in 2010 and lots of businesses (nearly 50%) measuring sentiment in 2011.
Engagement is a much better measure because it actually impacts social media returns. The more engaged your Fans and Followers, the stronger your brand and the greater your ROI. ROI increases happen in 2 ways:
- Consumers who share about your brand are more likely to buy the brand (this is cognitive consistency theory – again lots of experimental support)
- When consumers engage with your brand, your message travels to wider audiences — amplifying your message.
- When folks engage your brand, it acts as an endorsement to their friends and we KNOW consumer recommendations are MUCH more powerful in getting folks to purchase than paid commercials.
Businesses measuring engagement in social media is increasing — with over 50% of businesses measuring engagement in 2011 versus none in 2010.
Handling complaints and problems quickly and efficiently are the hallmark of a successful company. That’s because complaints travel 5 times as far as compliments.
More companies integrate customer service into the social media marketing strategy today than ever before. But, firms need to do a better job tracking this metric, because we know customer satisfaction is a major driver of repeat purchase and recommendation — both of which increase your social media returns.
OK, so social media marketing doesn’t translate directly into social media returns, but it may have the GREATEST impact on ROI of anything the business does. Sure, turning out a great product or service is important, but buying a product is basically a social process heavily influenced by what your friends do. And, social media increases the visibility of what you buy to your social network.
As you can see in the infographic, metrics support this. Nearly 75% of people who buy entertainment products discuss them online and 66% of users agree that Tweets influence the brands they choose.
Increase your Social Media ROI
To increase your social media marketing returns, you need a detailed understanding of your market, a social media strategy based on a clear understanding of how social media marketing is different from traditional marketing, and the right metrics to no only assess your social media ROI but provide guidance for optimizing your marketing ROI from social media.
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Be sure to check out the infographic below on the social media lifecycle.