Measuring ROI is a challenge facing any organization with a social media budget. Everyone knows that social media’s importance is expanding, but bottom-line results from marketing and brand building efforts on platforms like Facebook and Twitter are notoriously difficult to quantify. How can companies determine if their social media strategy is working?
Louise Callagy, VP of marketing and communications for Net Power & Light (developer of new mobile video communications platform Spin) and speaker at PR News’ Digital PR Summit in San Francisco on Feb. 5, offers her 5 'I’s' of social media ROI.
- Investigate: Learn and define what your key performance indicators (KPIs) are and align them with your company’s business objectives, strategy and stage of growth. Whatever your KPI, make sure to build an analytics dashboard with the right measurement tools and track progress against these goals.
- Initiate: Start executing on your plan once you’ve put the fundamentals in place. Tailor content to your target market. Facebook and Twitter allow you to pinpoint your audience—make sure the content resonates with them to realize full value.
- Inspire: This is the time to provide consistent value—and then do it again and again. Constantly ask yourself how you’re inspiring your audience/customers. Deliver content that compels people to share and inspires them to try or buy your product. Use rich media as much as possible to win over short attention spans, and keep posts on social media between 100 and 200 characters. Ask your audience questions, and be sure to be timely and relevant.
- Inform, share and integrate: We like to look at measuring social media investment along the various stages of the customer’s journey with our product and brand. Let’s say you "acquire" a customer at a pretty good cost per acquisition—that customer is now part of your ecosystem showing up in your product analytics or in your app store reviews. How you inspire, engage and constantly delight them during this stage is an equally important part of building advocacy.
- Iterate: Don’t be afraid to adjust strategy, tactics and content along the way. Gather feedback, look at your analytics and adjust your approach if it's not working.
The question of how a tweet can spark a sale still stymies strategists. Callagy emphasizes a different type of profit, though. “The goal is to inspire [your audience] to tell others about their experience, thus organically driving new customers into the acquisition funnel and decreasing cost per acquisition,” she explains.
Follow Louise Callagy: @callagyl
Follow Brian Greene: @bwilliamgreene