With businesses expected to spend around $54 million on social media marketing by 2014 (www.emarketer.com), the question on the lips of many business people today is not, “Should we get involved with social media?” but “How can we measure our success or ROI from our social media activities?”
Most of the business world has come round to the fact that social media is here to stay, and that not getting involved is a recipe for marketing disaster. However the boardrooms are now looking for a way to properly analyze their businesses performance in the social media arena, and ways of calculating any income that may have come as a direct result of social media activities.
There are a number of indicators that companies can use to get an idea of their social reach and performance; however, how definitive they are in terms of showing real ROI is a bone of contention that divides many of the experts.
Likes and Re-Tweets
One way that businesses can see how their campaigns are performing is by seeing how many people are engaging with the company’s message. Mainly by using social media markers such as the Facebook “Like,” and the Twitter “Re-tweet.”
The common opinion is that the more “Likes” a business clocks up, the more money they are making. This a view that Dexter Bustarde of Digitaria disagrees with. “Often I see campaigns where people earn a ton of Likes, but then don’t know what to do or say to these people after this. What happens after the initial contact is what determines success,” he said.
In other words getting people to acknowledge you shows they are listening, but it doesn’t accurately prove they are buying. You can read more about what Dexter has to say at mashable.com.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Mark Frisk is the Founder and Managing Director of Brandvisory, a company that specializes in marketing solutions for businesses. His belief is that there is no definite way of figuring out exactly what social media action caused someone to go from being a prospect to becoming a buyer.
“With so many ways to engage with customers, it is almost impossible to say for definite what the tripwire was that made them buy from you. They key is that we have seen companies who have never used social media start campaigns, and see their numbers increase.” Frisk said.
So without a way of knowing exactly how much money we are making from our social media activities, is there anyway of at least knowing how well we are doing in terms of generating leads, other then relying on “Likes” and “Re-tweets”?
There are a number of tools and resources available that can help us to have a closer look at our actual results, especially on sites like Twitter.
This tool is invaluable to those who actively use Twitter for their campaigns. It will show you what effect each of your Tweets had on your followers. In other words, which Tweets gained you followers, and which Tweets lost you followers. This enables you to spot trends which may give you clues as to what your customers really want to hear from you.
This one really makes sense! This tool shows you how many impressions each of your Tweets received so you can accurately figure out how many eyeballs saw your content. It will also show you how many of those impressions came from Re-Tweets, and who those Re-Tweets came from. Now you can work out who is most valuable to you in terms of gaining coverage.
There are a number of other tools you can read about at http://www.dailybloggr.com/, but what is for sure is that whilst it may be almost impossible to measure an exact ROI from social media, the fact remains that social media is now a vital marketing tool for all businesses, both online and offline.