There is an ongoing debate about whether a company can measure the ROI of its social media efforts. It seems to me to be a pointless argument for several reasons, but primarily because the effect of social media can’t be separated from the rest of a firm’s digital marketing efforts. The other aspect of the argument that is problematic is that the statement assumes you are using social media to lead directly to sales. This view is an application of an antiquated vision of marketing and sales to a modern business and its customers. In today’s digital environment, a marketer is attempting to use the tools at their disposal to engage and educate the customer, not sell them.
Study Says Many Don’t Measure ROI on Social Media
The funny part is the argument rages for bloggers and pundits and talking heads, but the reality is that a huge chunk of everyday marketing professionals are smarter and can’t be bothered. Many of them aren’t even measuring anything. A recent study of B2B marketers found that fully one-third of respondents weren’t tracking the impact of social media. Almost half were unsure if they were getting a return on social media, but ironically, 95% of the respondents indicated they were using social media.
Real Value of Social Media Is Engagement and Education
I would argue that these practitioners who people seem to think are operating in the dark actually are smarter than the so-called “thought leaders”. The value of social media is to help drive the engagement and education of the market, and to create that community around your product, so when the time comes to choose, the potential customer chooses your product instead of your competitors.
Social Media Measurement That Matters
Does this mean that we shouldn’t measure Social Media? Far from it. Instead, we need to first understand what we are trying to achieve with Social Media and then establish metrics tied to those goals. My recommendation would be to look across your Sales funnel and see how Social Media in its different forms can work with customers at each stage of the funnel.
Social Media Marketing Plan
With these thoughts in mind, here are some recommendations about Best Practices for Social Media and its measurement:
- Know your audience
- Choose the right social media channel(s) for your business
- Create a social media marketing plan with measures that are tied to your goals for social media
- Create a community of advocates around your company and your product
- Choose the right content to position your company as a leader in the market
- Measure your results to decide how to evolve your use of social media
- Reward your followers and especially your advocates