Facebook and Social Media ROI

Small businesses engaged in online marketing are eager to set up and execute effective social media campaigns.  Some small businesses and organizations prefer to manage their social networking accounts in-house and others choose to hire a social media firm. In either case, showing an ROI (return on investment) on social media campaigns is necessary in order to continue to assign staff or contractors to work on this form of marketing.

How should ROI be measured in a social media campaign?

Is success and return on investment determined by the number of followers or friends?  Or, is there an assigned value in establishing a presence on social networking sites where the brand, product or service can easily be promoted?  Can small businesses calculate the number of impressions made by social media and like traditional forms of marketing, calculate ROI by measuring the reach of this type of campaign? Maybe social media success is really about generating new business and turning more prospects into customers.  The latter is often the overall goal of a company’s social media strategy. All of the above are correct ways to measure ROI for social media.

Social media is still a relatively new means of communicating with the public. ROI is the objective of many companies, so it must be addressed in a tangible manner.  Olivier Blanchard, the author of Social Media ROI, explains that ROI is a result of effectively aligning a company’s already existing public relations, marketing, and customer service goals and objectives with social media.  He explains that setting specific goals is necessary in order to show measurable outcomes.  A company may want to increase the number of followers on Twitter or Facebook – so Blanchard recommends that small business owners come up with a realistic number and a date by which these followers will be signed on.  Perhaps the goal of social media is to increase the number of times a brand is mentioned online. In this case, determining the number of mentions is important, and acquiring the software necessary for accurate measurement of brand mentions everywhere online is critical.

For companies who want to drive more traffic to the main website, posting links to the website on social networking and bookmarking accounts on a regular basis is a necessary activity. 

For measurement of the traffic, attaching a website analytics program to the site is essential, as is weekly, bi-monthly or monthly monitoring of this traffic. ROI from social media campaigns is dependent upon an effective strategy and execution.  With an expert working on the foundation and execution of social media tasks, the likelihood for real leads and sales of products and services is greatly increased. An expert should be well versed in demonstrating ROI through the use of software programs that capture information published about a company.

Conducting ongoing discussions with staff or experts about social media is also a great way to get a feel for the progress of a campaign.

Social media is different than traditional marketing and advertising, which pays for exposure to a large or segmented audience and is essentially a one-way channel of communication.  Social media relies more on trust and loyalty to a brand for continued engagement.  It may take longer to build an audience in the world of social networking, but once the audience is established, two-way communication can occur.  This opens up the field to raving reviews and also frustration and complaints.

If a company is going to assign a staff member to manage social media activities, then Blanchard recommends the individuals selected have a customer service background.  Employees overseeing a company’s social media marketing must be trained to deal with customers’ criticisms and act on them quickly.  When customers comment on products or services in a positive way, companies receive the same benefits as word-of-mouth advertising — heightening their brand’s desirability and increasing sales.

Social media marketing is well worth the effort. 

But it is imperative that this type of small business marketing online is understood, executed and managed in a different way than traditional types of marketing, such as print, radio and television. ROI is important, but so are the two-way conversations companies can have with customers and prospects in the context of social media.  If small businesses do not have a staff or are unwilling to train customer service representatives for these specific tasks, it is probably better to hire a social media company with the expertise and experience to manage these initiatives.

For more information on social media campaigns, visit https://www.conversionpipeline.com.