For marketers, tracking the ROI of social media efforts has always been a daunting task. Whenever a client asks, “but how do I determine the ROI?” one might clam up, start to stutter incessantly, and resort to such classic go-to buzzwords as ‘engagement’, and ‘community’, and other factors. And certainly, getting people to talk with and about your brand has value, both good and bad. But actually tying that engagement to a dollar figure is far more difficult, regardless of how many studies try to do just that.
Well no, not really. There are ways in which marketers can (and have) tie the value of their social marketing initiatives to concrete dollar figures, as I’ve explored in one of my previous articles, and marketers are always looking for new means of gauging those social media successes.
Here are 4 ways to easily track the value of your social media marketing initiatives by thinking beyond things like ‘engagement’ and ‘community’ and whatever else.
It’s not uncommon for business owners to send out weekly or monthly newsletters to their consumers in order to keep them up to date on the latest in their particular industry, or the newest products and services that they are releasing. But in order to (legally) send out that newsletter, businesses must first gain subscribers.
A great way for a business to measure the value of their social media initiatives is by driving those fans and followers away from social media, and onto an extremely valuable medium — just take a look at this article, for example – such as email. Email provides a simple way for any business to drive fans and followers further down the sales funnel and onto a sales channel that is known for its extremely high conversion rates.
Contests are another excellent way to track the value of social media channels, often inciting action among followers and encouraging them to contribute something. That said, there’s a difference between running a contest that can be incredibly valuable for you — think photos and other user-generated content — and something that could be very costly, like giving away a free iPad.
Not only can contests be a unique way to engage a social media audience, but they can also provide businesses with plenty of useful information and content from their social media followers.
This one is pretty simple: Offering coupons — i.e. Facebook Offers, or Foursquare specials — is perhaps one of the most straightforward ways to track the value of social media audiences, and for many social media channels, it’s free.
4. Social Media-Centric Sales Channels
Beyond coupons, perhaps one of the most effective means of directly tying social media traffic to a dollar figure is to create social media-centric sales channels. Instead of simply using Twitter as another means of marketing a product, why not use it as the only means to sell that product? Or, like this coffee shop in Houston, as a means of placing orders?
Still, none of these are necessarily bulletproof means of determining the value of social media channels because, frankly, there are a lot of different variables that go into determining that value. The value of a Facebook fan, from one user to the next, might vary greatly, for example. And the same with retweets, likes, shares, subscribers, coupon redemptions, etc.
But beyond actual dollar figures, it is still very important that a business sees interaction among its social media users. If those interaction rates are high, chances are that those users are most likely incredibly valuable to that business.
But if those interaction rates are low, it won’t really matter how great they are at measuring the value of their followers.
How has your business found ways in which to measure the value of its social media initiatives?
Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester social media company based in NY specializing in advertising, web and graphic design, and SEO.