Social media ROI (return on investment) is probably the hottest and most debated topic in social media circles. There are almost as many answers to the question: “How are you measuring social media ROI?” as their are folks asking the question. A quick Google search today turned up over 150,000 results for the search term “how to measure social media ROI”.
Measuring ROI is important. By measuring social media ROI, you learn which actions help maximize your social media ROI. But, measuring increased sales ignores the fact that many social media actions take a little time to impact sales even through we KNOW positive brand image, increased brand awareness, and group dynamics fostered by social media have a tremendous impact on ROI (through the hierarchy of effects). We also know measuring things like number of fans and followers has a dubious impact on social media ROI. Gnarly!
I read an excellent article from the Social Media ProBook (by Jess3 and Eloqua) and it hit me — modifying service blueprints and developing service standards is the perfect way to evaluate social media ROI ! I’m not sure why it never occurred to me before, but it’s one of the advantages you get when your social media expert has strong marketing training — they can recombine existing marketing knowledge to solve new problems. That way you solve problems faster, better, and with less waste because you don’t have to re-invent the wheel for each new challenge.
Maximize Social Media ROI with Service Blueprints
Step 1 – What are service blueprints?
Last year I posted instructions on creating a service blueprint. A service blueprint tracks customer interactions from the first encounter until the end of the service process, which may include follow-up after the service, such as a thank you letter. Service blueprints help companies improve their service quality. If you think about a service encounter as a director putting on a play, you get the general idea of how one works. A service blueprint consists of:
- customer interactions – what happens 1st, 2nd, 3rd …
- onstage elements
- backstage elements
- physical evidence
- supporting processes
Step 2. Adapt Service Blueprints to Social Media
- Customer Interaction – think about how people can interact with you in social media and how you respond. People might comment (to a blog post or status update), complain, ask a question, “like” Retweet or any number of other interactions. How will you respond?
- Onstage elements – what do you do in social media? Do you blog? how often? Do you Tweet? What do you say? Where do you get content? How do you coordinate Tweets, with Posts, with Updates …? What is the tone with people in social media? Are you humorous? Supportive?
- Backstage elements – What technologies, design, content, and off-page efforts support your social media ROI? Have you set up marketing automation to maintain contact with members of your social networks? Do these work seamlessly to create a desirable experience that engages people, encouraging them to share your content and become evagalists for your brand?
- Physical evidence – How does your branding look? Does branding support the image you want? Are sites up all the time? Do they load fast? Is your layout attractive? Do you provide valuable content in a variety of forms such as video, graphics, etc?
- Support processes – What support sites and technologies do you use? For instance, is your YouTube channel branded like other branding elements? Can you deliver documents, such as ebooks, and share presentations effectively through slideshare, ScribeD, etc? Have you optimized user experience on these supporting sites?
Translating Your Blueprint into Social Media ROI
Step 1 – Develop KPI (key performance indicators) of each element identified in your blueprint. KPIs should translate into efforts moving people from the top of the funnel above to the bottom of the funnel, where they become sales. Monitor KPIs. How many people mention your brand in social networks? Do people spread your message to their social networks? How engaged are people with your brand? Are sales moving in an upward direction?
Step 2 – Set standards and measure how you’re performing against each metric. So, maybe you respond to complaints within the hour (it should be as fast as possible). How often are you successful in meeting this goal? Maybe you Tweet content 3 times a day — Guy Kawasaki has a regimen for social media content creation and distribution. Track how well you do in meeting this goal and how many people retweet your content.
Step 3 – as you get better at meeting standards, what happens to your KPIs, especially your social media ROI? Now, you should be able to correlate certain types of performance with your social media ROI.
Step 4 – You can experiment to see how different actions, different types of content, different messages impact KPI’s. You’re now in a position to maximize your ROI.
So, give me some feedback and let me know how this works for you. If you’re having trouble creating a service blueprint or translating that into KPIs, we’re here to help. Just call.