Every social media program worth doing is worth measuring, and providing metrics that matter to senior leaders is the best way to protect your budget and see it grow.
At PR News' Feb. 27 Digital PR Summit in San Francisco, Jennifer Burnham, director of social and content strategy at Salesforce.com, explained how she tackled measuring the ROI of social media.
"Rolling out social in big brands is great, but in the boardroom they still want to know what the bottom line is, and they don't want to see [the] social hand waving and tap dancing," she said. Burnham, along with Jessica Payne, director of digital strategy at PAN Communications, provided 8 tips to measure social ROI:
1) Focus on the 1-3 metrics that drive the bottom line: "In the boardroom, the brass want to see how social media contributed to the health of the business, provides new sources of prospect traffic, collects valid leads and drives money," Burnham said. Consider measuring key performance indicators such as subscriber growth, share of conversation, inbound prospect traffic and offer conversions.
2) Measure what matters and analyze changes: Measuring share of voice, for example, which shows where you stack up against competitors, can provide value, but Payne stressed that it's important to delve into your numbers. "Why has your share of voice—or your competitors—increased? Do that extra bit of homework to actually understand it," Payne said.
3) Measure and plan social activities within the media mix (not in a silo): "Campaign success can be measured and reported by closely analyzing both quantitative and qualitative results on a monthly basis, ranging from traditional media and blog impressions to tweets and group participations."
4) Be disciplined and consistent reporting progress against goals: When the goal was to double Salesforce.com's subscribers year over year, the goal was broken down to a less-daunting and consistently measurable goal of increasing subscribers 6% mother over month. "We gave really direct guidance to teams to tell them what direct success was," Burhnam said.
5) Fix any leaky plumbing to measure the pipeline from social offers: "Salesforce uses campaign IDs—anything that gets pushed out via social can be tracks back to pipeline using campaign IDs via bit.ly," Burnham said.
6) Track each content offer with a unique ID: Burnham says Salesforce uses a four-part measurement strategy: 1) People click on the URL in a Facebook post; 2) The tracking ID is captured when that person fills out a form; 3) Inside your CRM (customer relationship management) software the source of the lead is tracked as Facebook and 4) Report on leads and pipeline attributed to that campaign.
7) Create your own social ROI executive dashboard: "Today's social scorecard has fans and followers, social mentions, prospect traffic and valid leads."
8) Don't forget the human side of analytics: "The tools are only as effective as the person using the tools," Payne said.
Follow Bill Miltenberg: @bmiltenberg