Measuring ROI for Social Media Marketing
It hard to measure when “It depends”.
I have a friend who has a very nice guitar. Most of the time this guitar is in his closet. What is the $ return on investment (ROI) of this guitar? For my friend the dollar value of ROI for this guitar is zero. However, the same guitar could have a $ ROI for Jimmy Page of millions of dollars. You could say that Guitar+Talent+Action=$ ROI and this would be true but the point is that $ ROI is situational.
What if you owned a shop that baked and sold cupcakes. If you spent some time developing a very tasty and new version of a cupcake it could result in a very big $ ROI. If I did exactly the same thing it may not produce any additional $ income and my $ ROI would be zero.
The point about measuring $ ROI is that it depends on the individual situation to determine the $ value of ROI.
The same is true for the $ ROI for the social media marketing for a particular company. The ROI for one company can be very different when compared to the $ ROI for another even though they do essentially the same things for their social media marketing.
Moreover, to place an accurate $ ROI for all your social media marketing efforts is a bit difficult and perhaps it may even be impossible to determine the $ ROI for every social media marketing activities.
Here are some thoughts on how I view social media marketing with some insights into ROI.
1. One key component of my marketing is that most of the content marketing materials are created for and displayed in my blog (The SEO Notebook). My updates and the content I submit to other platforms either are actual blog posts or are based on content that was created for my blog.
The $ ROI measurement for an item presented in my blog is hard to measure. This is because a blog post in the SEO notebook may engage someone who is totally unaware or a blog post may be read when someone is trying to make their final decision about becoming a paying customer.
Moreover, a blog post may appear in the SEO Notebook Blog or it may appear on LinkedIn or Twitter. It is difficult to measure the dollar value accurately with all the intricacies associated with engagement.
2. I think that promoting the content of others is a vital part of social media marketing and a worthy activity and I do it often (about 60% of my social media activity is related to this). However, it is impossible to measure the ROI of this activity when the content piece is not owned by me and does not direct viewers to my center of content. It is a vital activity but how can you measure the $ ROI of the promotion of someone else’s content – you can’t.
3. The mix of content I share using social media marketing is about as follows:
- 30% – Owned / created by me.
- 60% – Curated content that I view as valuable content and worth sharing.
- 10% – Something promotional related to my business.
Of these 3 items the promotional items category is the easiest to measure as this can be connected to a landing page and the call-to-action (CTA) step is something that can be tied to a response which can be measured with $s.
You need to set your social media marketing mix properly to help you to achieve your desired results.
Let’s examine each item a bit more.
Content Owned by Me
The component that is owned and created by me is significantly educational. If I can find a way to entertain as well then this is even better. This component is created specifically for my audience and is often created for a subset of my target audience (real estate for example).
To make this content more valuable it is wise and necessary to help this content to be shared by others.
- Make your content remarkable and delightful
- Ask people (in general) to share it
- Add a tweet button into specific location within the post
- Inform key collaborators of the content and ask them to share it
Also, make sure that the content people is fully search engine optimized so that the search engines help you to gain exposure.
People can come in contact with these items at various points in time. If the connect with one of these items early it is valuable to me but hard to measure the $ value ROI. Even if the point of contact is late in the path and leads to a specific decision it is still hard to define the $ value ROI of any particular content item.
The content which I curate I view as high value content and worthy of being shared. I view the sharing of this content as being important to my marketing. This content provides value to me in that to share someone else’s content promotes the relationship.
In addition, I do not have to be responsible for creating everything that I share thereby reducing my workload.
I also need to do research to provide value to me audience and there is some wonderful content that directly relates to my audience. By conducting research I am in a position to add more value to my audience as my knowledge and expertise increases.
In addition, I also provide a service buy being aware of content I deem to be valuable and then sharing it.
The promotional component is valuable as a business needs to promote something. Why only 10%? This is an important point. If on social media you promote your business too much then this can be a turnoff and you can lose followers.
Losing followers on social media would lead to a decrease in the $ value ROI and you need to be mindful about broadcasting too many promotional social media marketing messages.
Now let’s back to the difficulty of why is it so had to measure the $ value ROI when it comes to social media marketing.
Here is an example from my own experience. It is the path that I took to sign up to use a tool that I now highly value for social media marketing. How did I get along without this?!
My journey to join Buffer.
1. I did not really think I had a problem. I was unaware of the time savings and the increase in consistency I could get from Buffer.
2. Twitter – I read a tweet about buffer and the tweet explained it as a time saver. It caught my attention.
3. Buffer Website – I visited their website.
4. Buffer Blog – I read a post (I liked it).
5. Browser Bookmarked – I bookmarked the site. I forgot about the bookmark (but at least it was bookmarked).
6. I read someone else’s blog about social media marketing tools – the post mentioned Buffer. I seemed to remember something about this. It did ring a bell. I could not research Buffer at this time – it would have to wait – I forgot again.
7. Browser – I went to review my social media bookmark folder. I saw the link to Buffer. Ahh – what was that again? I decided to visit their blog. I read two blog posts – I liked them.
8. Twitter – I follow IFTTT on Twitter and saw a tweet from them about Buffer integration.
9. Google – I googled the Buffer App and was presented with the Buffer App landing page. I clicked on it. I liked the clean design and call-to-action (CTA). I signed up on the spot.
It took 9 steps to finally sign up for something that was really a straight-forward decision once I took the time to make it. Item # 2 in the path started me off and this was a tweet from someone who wanted his followers to know about Buffer. Item # 4 also played a role but in this case the $ ROI for this blog post may not include the value associated with me.
Moreover, as a Buffer customer I now promote them. How is my promotional activity being measure by Buffer? The short answer is that it is not being measured.
How would you measure the ROI of the 1st blog post I read on the Buffer blog – item #4?
It can be difficult to place a dollar value for your return on investment for social media marketing. However, social media marketing can play an important role in repeating the message and in making people aware of solutions to problems that they do not even realize they have. If you can make someone’s life easier or better then social media marketing can help you with awareness, reminders and engagement.
Note as well that there is a big potential payoff (though hard to measure) if others share and promote your content and/or products or services.