The people I work with have a lot of questions about social media – and I’ve heard them all! Online, social interactions between businesses and their customers are understandably new terrain for many companies. From my experience, most companies know they should be utilizing social media, but don’t know where to focus their efforts, or even where to begin. Others are hesitant to engage with their customers on social media and worry that a social presence will only create a public platform for complaints and dissatisfaction. Perhaps the most important social media marketing question to ask is “How does social media impact my bottom line, and how can I measure the ROI of my social media marketing campaigns to make sure I’m getting optimal returns?” I’ll answer the ROI question in more detail and give you actionable tips to help you make that return a reality.
“How does social media impact my bottom line…?”
Measuring the ROI of a social media campaign can be a complex and imprecise task, sort of like measuring the ROI of a highway billboard campaign, or, as social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk has so eloquently put it, like measuring the ROI of your mother. Hah! No matter how you slice it, understanding the ROI of social media is without a doubt the fat, ugly elephant in the room. However, by the end of this post, you’ll understand what measuring your social ROI actually looks like, and you’ll learn about the benefits and cross-channel synergies that have cannon-shot social media to the forefront of the marketing conversation.
Social media marketing builds your brand – take that, elephant!
According to Experian, 27 percent of total Internet time is spent on social networking sites. This is where your customers are! Having a social presence makes sure your customers see and interact with your brand. On top of that, social media helps solidify your branded image and encourages customer loyalty through personal engagement and active customer service. Here’s how:
“27 percent of total Internet time is spent on social networking sites.”
- Brand awareness – Branding is essential to developing relationships with both potential and existing customers. Before anyone buys from you, you’ll need to convince them to give you a chance to win their business. That starts with telling your customers who you are and what you can offer them, and then connecting with them in a way that makes them want to do business with you. Statistics support that social media offers companies an incredible opportunity to connect with customers in their preferred environments and help create and reinforce a positive brand experience.
- Top-notch customer service – Social media allows you to provide top-notch customer service to your customers, and it enables you to reap the benefits of great service in a very public way. When your customers engage with you concerning their satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with your products and services, they expect a prompt response. When that engagement and response happens over social media, you’ve not only increased the satisfaction and trust of that customer, but you’ve done it for every single person who comes to your page and sees that interaction.
- Encourages customer loyalty – Of marketers who have been using social media for at least one year, 69 percent found it useful for building a loyal fan base. New customers don’t become loyal, long-term, referral-generating customers just because they like your product or service. That’s a great start, but in reality, customers become loyal because they develop relationships with your organization and the people in it! Social media platforms give you the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with your customers and to remind them that you really do care about their business and about ensuring their long-term satisfaction.
- Product reviews – According to Vocus, 68 percent of customers go to social networking sites to read product reviews. This means customers are going online to learn about your product, see the conversation about your product, and then join the conversation, whether you’re a part of the process or not. Why not ensure that you have a voice in that conversation?
Social media builds your business – what elephant?
Here’s the part you can get excited about! Social media improves your bottom line by producing new leads, improving search engine ranks of your website and allowing you to market test for free! These stats and useful points will relay just how social media makes a difference.
“7 out of 10 consumers are more likely to use a local business if it has information available on a social media site.”
- Produces new leads – 7 out of 10 consumers are more likely to use a local business if it has information available on a social media site, according to comScore Networks and TMP Directional Marketing. This means that social media pages are a common and influential first-stop for potential customers. It’s important for your potential customers to not only find accurate information about you, but leave your page with a positive view of your brand, products, and services.
- Improves website traffic & search rankings – One of the most valuable “side-effects” of building a social community for your customers is that it improves the search engine rankings of your website – and in a big way! In fact, 70 percent of small businesses are using social media to improve their SEO, according to SEO.com. That’s a lot of companies taking advantage of social media benefits! What’s even better is that the SEO benefits of your social media presence can be supercharged with a targeted strategy for rich content production and viral-focused promotion. When you create great content that gets shared by your social network, you drive new traffic to your social pages and onto your website. For some insight into how search engines are using social media to measure authority, check out our recent blog on local SEO strategies here.
- Free market testing – Do you need to launch a new product or service? Or design a new logo? Or test out some different options for an advertising campaign before it hits the market? You can survey or poll your customers for free on social media. That’s right, for free! And you’ll know you’re receiving actionable feedback since you’re surveying your best customers. Social media makes legitimate market testing possible for any small business.
- Produces new partnerships – Not only does using social media help you find new customers, it can also help connect you with new business partners, too! More than half of marketers who’ve spent more than one year on social media report new partnerships as a result. Wow!
Measuring Social Success – Send That Elephant Packing!
Measuring the ROI of social media is all about crunching the numbers – the number of people your campaign reaches, the amount of traffic it drives to your website, the number of customer leads it produces, and the estimated value you assign to each of these as they contribute to a new sales result. The infographic posted below from internet marketing entrepreneur Neil Patel’s Quick Sprout lays out how to crunch some of these numbers to determine the ROI of your social media.
ROI (%) = (Benefits – Costs) x 100
As you see in the infographic, brands like Jimmy Choo, Vitabiotics, and Coffee Groundz are generating significant sales increases using social media – and measuring them, too! Setting a monetary value to your tracked conversions is key to successfully measuring the ROI of your social media campaigns. Here are some final tips to help you create positive, measurable social marketing results with your social media pages:
- Set up your tools – It’s important to find and setup the right analytics tools for your business. You can use them to determine campaign reach and more. Google Analytics and Hootsuite are good places to start!
- Look at social engagement – Measuring your engagement is one metric you can use in your ROI calculations. For example, to determine social engagement rate on Facebook you average your likes, comments, and shares per post and divide that by your total number of fans.
- Create a social advertising campaign – Promoting creative content or special discounts through pay-per-click advertisements can give your social marketing campaign the BOOST you need! Paid advertisements on Facebook and LinkedIn provide an opportunity to target highly-specific demographics with your marketing message and receive detailed tracking and conversion results. Or, you can leverage a free promotion opportunity, design a creative cover image and schedule a series of posts promoting an exclusive coupon for your social fans, and then encourage your fans to share the love with their friends! As long as the campaign is exclusive to social media, you’ll know exactly where your results are coming from – even when the conversions are offline (over the phone or at your place of business).
- Don’t forget to optimize – Optimize your strategy by eliminating the campaigns that aren’t working and pushing the ones that are. This is just good, old-fashioned common sense when it comes to stretching precious marketing dollars, and it should absolutely be applied to your social media investments as well.
If you take away anything from this post, let it be that measuring and tracking all of your marketing campaigns, including social media, is key to generating positive returns on your investments. The more information you have, the better your ROI calculation will determine what’s working and what isn’t working. Then you simply channel your investment dollars accordingly.
Stay tuned for future posts on social media marketing, where I’ll dive into topics like “how to supercharge your Facebook ad campaigns” and “the secrets to viral social marketing.” I would love to answer any questions you may have about social media marketing in Houston, TX and help your organization get social. Just post your question in the comments section or drop me a quick message. Thanks for reading Big Bytes! If you loved the post, please share it with a friend!