Measuring ROI from Social Media Activity
My colleagues Dr Xiao Ma and Dr Mark Swift delivered a session to a number of businesses at a recent workshop we hosted with the Engineering Employers Federation (EEF) on the benefits of social media. They talked about tools and techniques to better manage the resource commitment needed for undertaking social media activity, such as Hootsuite and Buffer and shared some interesting case studies including the work we did with Gravograph.
However, businesses in the session did raise the question about how to measure Return on Investment (ROI) of this activity. We get comments about ROI quite frequently and like other marketing activities, being able to determine the impact of this actvity can sometimes appear elusive. If you look at social media activity in the same way as engagement with press through PR activity or attending an event and speaking to a number of people it is not always clear if the effort has had an impact or could lead to business as a result.
Like all other marketing activity, social media is a channel to engagement and reaching target audiences. The more targeted effort made, the more liklihood that potential clients get to hear about your work and learn about your business. Social Media offers you the opportunity to not only become an advocate for your business on particular issues/subjects but also allows you to monitor other conversations, individuals and businesses, manage customer service and ultimately generate leads and sales. Here are a few ways you can monitor your activity on social media:
- Set up Google Alerts and discover if your social media activity is being circulated online
- On-going benchmarking through your Twitter account - followers, mentions. Tools such as Twitter Falls, Tweepskey, Social Mention and Klout are also good to monitor conversations and Twitter impact.
- You can track visitors from Social Media through your Web Analytics and identify if increased traffic, conversions occur as a result
- You can ensure that Social Media is monitored through your CRM system - find out where people have heard about you.
- Certain issues or topics you talk about may lead to more interest in your business. If you establish this then tailor your content to these things.
Regardless of how this technology develops, business priorities and the things you want to do will remain the same. You must tie any social metrics to your business objectives.
Another question that is often asked is which social media platform should a business focus on. This is largely dependent on the type of business you are and your business priorities in terms of what you want to acheive. In terms of market reach, the leaders are Facebook and Twitter and would be a good place to start - particularly if you are a B2C type business. Using social media for B2B markets requires more focus and a more targeted approach as smaller numbers (results) can often be effective enough to make a difference.