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Social Media: Measuring the ROI

Article initially posted on Forbes by Lisa Montenegro and re-written by Huan Koh

All digital marketing agencies today need to be able to provide clear metrics on their customers’ social media return on investment (ROI).

It is surprising to me to still hear businesses comment that social media is optional and not measurable. This is definitely a risk that businesses can’t afford to take now that social media has cemented itself as a marketing channel in its own right.

It’s time to give social media the respect it deserves. And because this key component of your business strategy is going to take more time and resources, you should definitely know all about social media ROI. What is social media ROI? It's a bit of an open question that depends specifically on your company and your goals. Let's take a deeper look below.

Determining Your Goals

Defining your goals is the first step. Are you hoping to increase your number of followers? Are you looking to increase trading volume? Or keeping existing shareholders informed? Tap into a new pool of investor audiences perhaps?

Social media ROI boils down to how much you’re currently spending and how much your social media impact matters to your business right now. This can pose some difficult questions and decisions. For example, maybe a long-standing company is used to spending most of its marketing budget on more traditional forms of advertising, like newswires or television. It can be difficult to decide to change what has been a long-standing tradition. For some, it may seem strange to trade newswires for Facebook or Twitter. However, social media ad spend may actually get more results. In fact, 2017 marked the first year that digital marketing surpassed TV ad spend.

If you want to track your current social media ROI yourself, here are some great tools to help you.

Before you start measuring your social activities, I'd recommend that you take a benchmark of where you are starting.

Here is a quick list to follow:

  • Make a record of your existing website analytics (i.e., visitors, referral links, SEO rankings, etc.)
  • Make a note of KPIs you currently track (i.e cost per investor audience acquisition, newswire budget, cost per presentation viewed, average trading volumes, number of opt-in email subscribers)to see how these change over time
  • If you've already set up some social profiles and have followers, make note of the numbers you already have (i.e., number of connections on LinkedIn, Facebook fans, blog subscribers and Twitter followers)

Understanding The Importance Of ROI

It’s mind-blowing that many companies don’t know how much they’re currently spending on social media. It’s time to pay attention and find out which social media channel is bringing your company the most revenue at present and why. Also note areas in which you could improve. Monitoring these will enable you to make changes for the better.

A great example of this is a Lithium Explorer that wanted to minimise the number of short-term shareholders, engage with new long-term ones. For 1 month, they set out to test on 3 social channels and wanted to have a tried and tested way to acquire new email opt-ins. Posting on 3 channels helped them gained 123,000 views within the first month. Their best performing posts include 25,000 for one Twitter Post, 13,500 for one Facebook Post, 2,500 for one Linkedin Post. Results are remarkable and helped us kept our existing shareholders, as evidenced from their stock price, whilst intrinsically gaining more potential shareholders.

The strategy was to put our Ads on all channels and installing tags and pixels to track and remarket. At the end of the exercise the Company was able to know exactly what the Cost-per-Email-opt-in, and Cost-per-Content-view were. By sending out news releases and announcements on social media to the right audience sub-sets, the Company can now do away with traditional PR and Newswires because Digital Marketing is now tapping into the same audience that they want to hit, and it more effective and predictable.  

Measuring Your Social Media

Again, define your goals. It’ll be easier to measure your social media performance if your goals are clear. Don’t try to hit every aspect possible. Choose areas that need improving or areas that are doing well and decide what to change to gauge more impact.

Break these areas into categories that can be tracked, such as customers who follow through on one of your content's calls to action rather than using a browser to get to your website. For example, how many people are signing up for your emails or reading an article by clicking through?

Here are seven social media metrics to monitor.

Social Media Campaigns

Once you have clear goals, an idea of your budget and a proposed plan, link your goals in tandem with your social media strategy to get the best ROI. For example, a Chemicals Company set a goal of getting completing an AUS2mil placement within 3 months. Based on social media campaign, we got 5,000 views on their Investor Presentation. We left tags and pixels on the page to conduct remarketing and also an email/contact number sign-up form to know the cost-per-investor-acquistion. We know exactly now how many email addresses and contact numbers we will get if we send it out to 5,000 people. So all we do then is to continue to attract traffic to the presentation, conduct email and social media remarketing, encourage viewers to leave their emails and contacts, for the company to contact them directly to set up meetings.  

The impact of your social media campaign should be measurable from the get-go as the value and specifics of each link you share on social media will be trackable. This makes it easier for you to see which links are building traffic and promoting engagement. Here's a great guide on link tracking throughout a campaign and beyond.

It’s often the little things that add up. With that in mind, it’s important to remember that while social ROI matters, the figures themselves aren’t the only indicators of social influence and growth. For instance, influencers, collaborators and rich media can all enhance your social media presence without the need for long-term investment.

Welcome to a new level of social awareness.

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