How I Know It’s Worth It

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Return on Investment

Measuring the Impact of Your Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing isn’t free – not if time is money.  You can pay a staff member to lead your efforts or hire an Internet marketing firm.  A lot of us choose, at least for now, to handle the social reigns ourselves.  Regardless of whose time and money is spent, the big question is how do you measure return on this investment?

Here’s a guideline for assessing the ROI question:

  1. Define your goals.  You can’t measure what you can’t define.
  2. Understand that the currency of social media is ACTION.  Social media is really about requesting an active response from the community, responses such as clicking “Like”, sharing links and posting comments.
  3. Then evaluate the actions.  Some actions are worth more than others.  For my money, one legitimate question on your blog from a prospective client is worth a lot more than 50 retweets of an inspirational quote you posted last Friday.
  4. Know the size of your following, and its rate of growth.  Keep tabs on the size of your social following.  These are important connections: loyal customers, potential partners and (hopefully) future clients.  But also measure the rate of growth.  It’s one thing to build a foundation of family and friends; it’s another to keep attracting those new fans and followers.
  5. Track the traffic to your website.  Increased web traffic from social media sources was listed as the top factor for measuring the impact of social marketing in a recent survey of 175 CMOs by Bazaarvoice.
  6. Use tools, if they help.  Not every metric has value to your bottom line so just because HootSuite can track it doesn’t mean you should.  Which tools to use?  Again, it all goes back to what you’re trying to accomplish and knowing your goals.

It’s a challenge to quantify ROI for social marketing.  In this respect the industry is still evolving.  While the last word on this topic has yet to be said, there is value now that can be had and measured.

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