Social Media ROI: Where to Begin

Measuring the impact of your social media strategy is important. Social Media ROI is still a fairly new concept for many businesses – and because of that it’s easy to be led astray or to keep plowing away at an ineffective strategy. A question I get a lot is, “how will I know if this works?”

Just as with any aspect of your marketing plan, goal setting and long-term planning will be the key to social success for you and your business. My answer to this question is generally, “you won’t know what to look for if you don’t properly direct your efforts.”

What do you want to accomplish with your strategy? You know, besides making lots of money! How do you envision social media being a part of your regular marketing activity? Do you have the resources (staff, finances) to succeed in moving forward with those goals? These are the questions you should be asking your staff or a trusted consultant as you look to emerge online as a brand expert and trusted industry voice. Or, to extend your brand’s reputation to the online world.

It’s important to recognize where you are at in your social media marketing campaign to set proper goals. If your online presence is lacking, or if you’re now just starting to implement social media marketing into your strategy, concentrating solely on one aspect of marketing activity (awareness, lead generation, website traffic, etc.) may lead you down the wrong path and waste considerable time and resources in the process. Leading eventually to a minimized ROI.

Are enough people talking about your brand? If not, that might be where your social media marketing plan begins. If you are being talked about but you just don’t see a financial return, or you don’t know just how impactful your social strategy has actually been on your bottom line, then setting goals to measure conversions and lead generation may just be what your business needs.

Many of the organizations I’ve worked with over the past 6-12 months are just beginning to scratch the surface of their social media strategy. I’ve seen some businesses immediately turn their social investment into conversions in the real estate market, while others (including myself personally) have really been able to establish a brand identity and become THE place people search for within a variety of online platforms.

Either activity is easily measurable. There are many tools available (Google Analytics, Mention) on top of the in-depth reporting your Twitter & Facebook pages can provide for you regarding ad spends and conversions. You can find out what people are saying about your brand, how often they’re saying it and what you’re doing to influence those interactions. You can also see just how financially impactful your efforts are within your targeted demographic.

These tools are great at helping you analyze data to measure your social media ROI. The key factor for you is knowing how to set goals and plan accordingly, to ensure your investment of both time and money is working to suit your business’ needs.

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