Social Media ROI: Picking a Starting Point

ROI quoteI would be lying if I said the chapters of Social Media ROI we read for #CMGRclass this week didn’t completely stress me out. The graphs, equations, measurement criteria… there is so much to be done when it comes to figuring out your return on investment with social media.

I work with a team of two people- myself and one other- who focus on social media for our office. Unfortunately, we just do not have the resources or support to do everything that Oliver Blanchard suggests.

After my minor social media panic attack, I came to terms that it is okay to start small. Even by picking just a few of his suggestions to focus on, that will help my team reach our goals. And hopefully, someday we will have the resources and support to do what Blanchard proposes in Social Media ROI. If we start tracking even just a few things now, we will be ahead of the game when the times comes.

Oliver Blanchard Social Media ROI

Example from Social Media ROI

Currently, it is hard for my team to track ROI since we do not really have access to the company’s financial transactions. However, I can focus on the nonfinancial impact that social media has on the company’s ROI, so that’s where I will begin.

Examples of nonfinancial outcomes to monitor:

  • Comments (positive and negative)
  • Mentions (positive and negative)
  • Retweets (positive and negative)
  • Increase/decrease in visitors to your website
  • Increase/decrease in followers and/or likes
  • Number of times something was shared
  • Other metrics that cannot be measured in dollars

Watch this video from Oliver Blanchard– he happily and simply describes what is ROI.

The next steps for measuring are what Blanchard calls the cornerstones of your measurement practice: monitoring, measurement, analysis, and reporting.

1. Monitoring: listening to your community. What are they talking about? What do you they have to say about your organization, your service or your product?

  • Tools for monitoring include: Google Alerts, tracking hashtags, looking at @ mentions, reading comments.

2. Measurement: quantifying what you monitored, measuring and tracking the data that you’ve collected. What links got the most clicks? What posts received the most shares? A tip from Blanchard: “Be precise and measure what matters. Start with your objectives and work your way back into metrics that support these objectives.”

  • Tools for measuring include: Google Analytics, Hootsuite, Facebook Insights

3. Analysis: taking your measurements and making sense out of them, what insights does your data provide to your company or organization. Does your community love posts about sports? Do they react well to contests? Do they only share posts that are images? See what your community is responding to and then act upon it. Analyze your measurements so you know where your organization needs to focus their social media efforts.

4. Reporting: informing coworkers of your findings and progress to show that you are reaching your goals. Blanchard stresses that “how data and analysis are reported, by whom, and under what circumstances is critical to the success of your social media program.” You need to be able to show the right people your social media insights and  prove how they are affecting the company in a positive way.

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Picking a starting point of looking at nonfinancial outcomes will help me focus instead of getting overwhelmed by the bigger picture. That is just one piece of the social media ROI puzzle. Hopefully in the future, with more resources, I will be able to place the nonfinancial impact into this equation with ease:

investment –> action –> reaction –> non financial impact –> financial impact

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