Many of my clients have asked: “Where is the Return on Investment (ROI) in Social Media?” How do you measure it? By tweets, re-tweets, friends, fans, website hits – what truly tells you if you are being successful?
One of the easiest ways to approach this is by analyzing the “actions” you are asking of your audience- and how the results address your organization’s strategic goals, in conjunction with ascertaining which platform(s) the traffic that performed the action(s) came from. Action examples for an audience could include:
Vote or Survey
Recommend or Recommendation
Examples of Strategic Goals that have financial outcomes:
Increase in Donations by promoting fundraiser (Donate)
Increase in product sales (Buy Now)
Increase in sale of services/training/conferences (Register)
Examples of Strategic Goals that have Customer Service outcomes:
Increase in Members joining a user community (Join)
Target Marketing- feedback from community for future product development /outreach (Vote)
Monitor effectiveness of Customer Service Staff (Vote or Survey)
Increased Client Satisfaction (Recommend or Recommendations)
Examples of Learning & Growth based objectives:
Increase in educational program attendance- alerts (Register)
Newsletter subscriptions (Subscribe)
Feedback on Success of Internal Initiatives (Vote)
There are tools that help you monitor this traffic, such as Google Analytics. Additional tools include:
These are terrific, but don’t underestimate the value of asking the audience member performing the action the “source” of how they got to the specific “action” point. (Best Practice: Make this a “Required” field, even if it is a simple text field. Note: Pick list of sources with “other” would be best).
Monitoring website hits doesn’t tell you a lot unless you know where they came from and what the individuals did once they got to the website. For example: You may have a blog and you could monitor the amount of comments and the categories of the topics that drew the most comments. This could help you develop your product or services suites. It could also help you define your “target markets” in terms of demographics and geographical areas.
So start with what you want to the outcomes to be, develop an “action plan” for your audience and then monitor the traffic and its source to determine true Return on Investment.