How to Measure Social Media ROI

Measuring Social Media ROI

Recently, Twitter just had their 10 year anniversary of their first tweet. 12 years ago, Facebook officially went live as the product we know of today. Today, both of these major platforms have a combined total user base of over 2 billion people and businesses. When you add in other social upstarts and apps such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat you can add in another 1.6 billion users. And even with these staggering user stats, and singular places to reach a massive audience, businesses all over the world are still reluctant to invest more in social media, or even make leap into social media at all. Much of it stems from time and staffing levels, an inabilty to see value from higher ups in many organizations, monetary constraints, lack of knowledge in their use, or just a failure to see or have the ability to measure ROI of social media as a whole. We hear a lot of these responses, but the question of ROI seems to be a major factor in determining social media’s place in an organization’s marketing strategy. So how do you determine social media ROI?

It’s a very tricky question to answer for any business, but much of it has to do with trying to determine what the goals of your business and marketing efforts are in the first place. If you are bascially any business, branding and brand recognition should nearly always be at or near the top of your marketing and social media goals. Even Coca Cola and McDonalds never stop their own branding efforts as evidenced by their TV ad spend, and especially their investment into their social media efforts among other campaigns. Look at companies like Red Bull who plaster their brand over an ever-growing stable of extreme athletes. An eCommerce business probably has an additional goal they can utilize social media for branding purposes, and also as a way to drive traffic to their website which will ideally lead to a web sale. So, the first place to start for any business is to determine your goals, determine what the metrics are to measure those goals, then you can start to determine the ROI of your social media efforts.

Setting Social Media Goals

Measure facebook reach

Facebook Reach

As branding should the goal of nearly every business, there are a few good metrics you can use to help determine if social media is working in your favor. Reach on Facebook is one great metric to look at. Reach is simply the number of fans and followers you have that had the ooportunity to see your post. So how do you boost reach? Since the life of the average post on Facebook is around 1-3 hours, you should be posting when your fans are online the most. Looking at your Facebook Insights is the best place to look for this data. This is a great metric to look at on a regular basis. Just like a TV commercial, you want the most amount of people to see your posts.

 

Social Media Engagement

These are the actual interactions people have with your posts across all your social networks. To calculate, add up all these interactions such as Likes, Comments, Shares, Retweets, and so on and divide that number by your total number of fans across all these social networks. And why is this an important metric to track? Many studies show that users who engage most often with a brand tend to view the brand in a positive light. And those people are also more likely to make a purchase from that brand, and recommend that brand to their friends. And while most social networks these days have made it harder for brands to increase “organic” engagement through algorithm changes, improving engagement of your posts is due in large part to one central theme…better content=more enagement. In other words, give people what they want, or solve pain points and you will see engagement go up.

 

Traffic to your website (or store)

While driving traffic to your website shouldn’t be the only goal of your social media efforts, nor should it be the primary source of content, ultimately you should track how people are coming to your website by way of social media channels. One easy way to track this is looking at your Google Analytics account, and look at the Social Network Referrals page. This will show you exactly how many people came to your website by clicking a link within a given social media channel. From there you can then see which links people clicked on in that social channel. This can tell you not only the number of referral clicks from that channel, but also what type of content is resonating with people. If you want to dial in even deeper, you can create individual link campaigns in Google Analytics. You can do this by creating unique tracking URLs for each social channel to see which channel is working best, and also which is leading to the most sales or conversions. This way you can get even more granular about which social channels are driving click-thrus, and also what type of content is resonating more with your followers.

 

Measuring website conversions

 

 

Measuring Conversions

A coversion is simply defined as an action on your website that you want people to take. It could be an email sign up, a PDF download, a new potential lead, a completed sale, time spent on a page, or even a video view. While many businesses want sales directly from social media, this attitude is gradually changing and greater importance is being placed on non-financial aspects of social media marketing. Conversions are another metric that can be tracked within Google Analytics once you have determined what conversions you want to track, and creating those goals to track. That entire process is for another day, but setting up goals and conversion tracking in Google Analytics is imperative in measuring effectivenes for your social media ROI.

 

Measuring Revenue/Sales

While this may not be a primary goal of your social media efforts, or even a goal you create to determine ROI, there will be some who want to know exactly how much in sales is directly attributable to your social media efforts. One thing I would caution against, is only using sales as a measurement of social media ROI. This might be a tougher sell to some CEOs who are primarily focused on top line growth. While this can be a key metric to track for businesses who sell products or services directly on their website, it might not be a metric for someone like a restaurant whose sales come 100% from offline activity. There are ways for restaurants, storefronts, bars, and other offline business to at least measure individual campaigns that you run from say a Facebook page. A good example might be running a coupon or offer where social media is the only place to pick up such a deal. From there you can calculate how many coupons/offers were brought in and how much in sales those tickets generated. But for those wishing to measure sales in their online channels where they can attribute to social media efforts, it can be slightly more daunting. Utilizing Google Analytics, and under Reporting<Acquisition<Social<Conversions tabs, you would be able to see those people who were referred by a social network, and consequently those visits led to a sale conversion. This is just one way to measure revenue attributable to social media activity, or sales ROI.

You can see from some recent surveys from current CMOs which metrics are most important to measure social media ROI, and there are a couple in there that are revenue related.

 

social media metrics measure

 

Cost Calculation

To figure a true cost, or ROI, of your social efforts as it relates to sales or actual revenue generated,  you also need to know what you are spending in and on your social media efforts. But again, this is but one aspect of social media ROI; using revenue as metric to track. The easy and most basic way to calculate this is a simple math formula:

Social Media Revenue ROI(%) = (Revenue Generated from social media – Cost of social media marketing)/Cost of social media marketing

So, if you generated $1000 in sales, and those sales cost you $800, your ROI would be 25%

You also need to determine which costs are associated with these efforts and campaigns. Examples of costs would include time or labor, agency costs, advertising spend, and any additional marketing spend such as product giveaways or subcriptions.

 

Measurement Reporting

We always advise using 3-5 metrics that are important to your business goals, especially when you have higher ups who want to know what the value of social media is on a regular basis. This list and article is not an exhaustive list on the metrics you can use to help determine an ROI of your social media efforts, but it should at the very least, get you started in the right direction.

A report is something you can create in an Excel sheet, but I always recommend using graphs and graphics whenever possible as a way to better visualize the data, and make it more consumable. In this case, a PowerPoint might give you the power to show how your efforts are helping your ROI and prove the worth of your efforts. If you don’t the time or ability to create the proper reporting on measuring your goals and specific metrics, it may be time to consider hiring agency for some or all of your social media efforts.

Utilizing an agency like iWeSocial, you have the advantage of not only years of expertise, but also the software and platforms to go deeper into the data and how you measure your social media ROI. We have the ability to look at the things that matter most to the CMOs marketing executives, such as in the previous image. Things like social influence, brand sentiment, brand mentions across the internet, virality, competitive analysis, and many other deeper dive indicators that can elevate your social media across all channels.

 

social media listening
Our Stream platform allows you to take a deeper dive into what is driving your social audience, brand sentiment, influencers, and responding to them in real-time. You might wonder how you lived without it after you start using it.

 

Conclusion

While vanity metrics such as “Likes” seem to consume most any business’ social strategy, taking the time to sit down and create a set of goals and metrics to track those goals will not only help you determine an ROI of your social media efforts, it will also give you a path to elevate your social media efforts and even surpass your goals. The data is there, now it’s up to you to make the time to use it, report it, and make actionable insights for optimum results. You will not only save time, but you will become more productive with time and most likely, you will see an increase in revenue as a result. But if you don’t have the time or expertise, don’t throw darts at a wall and hope for the best. Hire someone who can do this and you will reap the rewards. Social media is here to stay, so you may as well use it to grow your business.

 

Author: Eric Graham, Digital Marketing Manager, iWeSocial

 

If you have any questions about calculating ROI, get a better ROI return, how to elevate your social media efforts, or dig even deeper to make better insights from truckloads of data, you should give us a call. We can help, and we can drastically improve your ROI. 720.880.5492 or email us at info@iwesocial.com for a no obligation consult.

 

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The Evolution of Market Research and the importance of Social Media Listening

The Evolution of Market Research and the importance of Social Media Listening

by Pete Knoblock

Wouldn’t it be nice to know how your customers really feel about the product / service you are providing them? Do you wonder if they are recommending you to other people or are they bashing you on Twitter to thousands? How many complaints have gone unanswered? Why didn’t your Radio commercial bring in new business, and how come your competitor’s Facebook (call-to-action) post brought in 50 new customers last week? And why didn’t anyone tell you that a waiter was unfriendly, your facilities were dirty, nobody responded to a customer’s complaint, etc., etc.

 

Not knowing the answers to these questions can expedite the trip to Chapter 7 or 13. Many business owners think they know how to market their business, but they are fooling themselves. If every business owner knew how to market their business, there would be no tangible phone books, no direct mail and certainly a lot less of the street corner sign flippers. Areas of focus in 2016 and beyond should be knowing what consumers are saying about your brand in real-time.

 

Could you imagine if your customers were saying this about your product or service on Facebook and your organization didn’t know about it?

 

social media listening

 

But first, a chronology…

 

Old School Social Media Listening

Traditional methods of Listening is not in the present and is almost too late once the brand receives the information. Traditional methods included mailing out a survey in the actual mail (this could take months depending on how long it took to get a valid sample)! Then hoping to get a 5-10% response rate and a valid sample (Usually with 5% + / – margin of error). Several steps had to take place before finally getting the data ready for a deliverable. Such steps included, hand coding the surveys once the data was received, running a statistical analysis, handing off reams of data to the analyst, cross-tabulating, putting those numbers into workable English and ultimately presenting the data in a way which makes sense to mid-management or C-Suite individuals.

 

the old ways of social media listening

 

 

Alexander Bell

We then graduated into telephone surveys using call centers and IVR (interactive voice response) systems based on POS (point of service) information (let’s not forget how long that took to implement and become active). Survey fields could also take months to receive the necessary amount of data to conduct statistically valid analysis. Operations were similar to tangible surveys. The key point again was the amount of time it took from consumer input to brand action.

 

interactive voice response

 

Al Gore – The Internet

Online surveys were the next wave of market research technological advances. Again, the wait time to get enough information was not real time. Sure, there’s always going to be the 800 number, contact us forms via the brand’s contact us webpage, long-form writing, etc.; but again, it’s just not quick enough to act upon.

 

al gore invented the internet

 

BUT, if a brand really wants to be current with its former, existing and potential customers, it needs to be socially aware of what is being said about them in real-time. Speed to action is vital to extend a consumer’s loyalty, impress, excite and any other variation which leads to a moneyed transaction, likelihood to recommend and likelihood to return.

 

social media customer service

 

So what is Social Media Listening?

Twenty years ago, this industry didn’t exist. Now, it’s an absolute requisite for a company to succeed in market-share expansion, crisis monitoring, customer service, sales, strategy, public relations, marketing and beyond.

 

Social Media Listening simply defined is the following:

 

“Listening is observing, interpreting and acting upon active conversation in real time. Any time a former, existing or potential consumer mentions your brand’s name on publicly available social media channels; there’s always someone observing, interpreting and acting upon that person’s quote.”

 

 

Dynamic Social Media

Social Media is about as dynamic as it gets. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. continue to change their algorithms to increase usage which in turn provides more money into these Tech Giants. All the while, Social Media firms continue to scramble to comprehend the dynamics so they too, can increase their client-base; which in turn, that client base can go advertise on those giant social sites. It’s all cyclical, but the orbit is never the same.

 

Another item to consider when reading this, and it’s the same for any vertical; consumer sentiment can change within seconds. A brand’s image can be positively engaged in one minute and in the next minute, its stock price has plummeted by 5% or more. And there are plenty of examples out there which reflect this:

 

Ø  Angry / Offensive tweet from C-Suite or Celebrity

Ø  Product recall

Ø  Health Concerns

Ø  Sensitive information

Ø  Political Views

Ø  Accusations

Ø  Imagery

 

 

These are just a few areas where organizations need to be at the ready in case a forced or unforced error comes across the Public Relations’ Monitor.

 

Sentiment is happening in real-time and organizations need to have the ability to understand where it’s coming from, how it happened, why it happened and what to do next. Not to mention, consumers demand a response in 30 seconds or less.

 

Gen X, Millennials, Boomers…

The lovers of Direct Mail are wasting their money. When you live in an apartment complex at the age of 25, do you want to get an ad about a Garage Door company? How about a Plumber? Air Conditioning? Yet, on an individual’s Facebook Page there’s targeted advertising based on that individual’s demographic and a few other ‘clandestine’ (yet legal) metrics.

 

If there’s a topic on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. which falls into your industry, wouldn’t you want to know who’s talking about it, how old, is it Global, is it National, what gender?

 

Welcome to the Jungle of social listening

It’s the 21st Century folks. If you are relying upon 20th Century tactics, you’re missing the train. Social Listening is becoming more and more dynamic in terms of data availability. We’re unearthing metrics which are not available to just any organization. It’s paramount for an organization to take its temperature, implement a recourse if need-be and track the success of that campaign all within 60 seconds. If you don’t, your competitors will, and they will GLADLY take your customers with them.

 

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SENTIMENT BEHIND STARBUCKS GREEN CUP CAMPAIGN

STARBUCKS GREEN CUP

By Eric Graham

We live on coffee here at iWeSocial headquarters, and because of that coffee will our topic of conversation in the coming weeks and through November. Our biggest report will start next week as we analyze the social media activity of several popular coffee brands. But this week we wanted to take a look at Starbucks annual polarizing event we like to call “A call to a cup”. This years’ entry is the now famed Green Cup.

Starbucks green cup

 

The cup became available last week and is represented by commissioned artwork from Shogo Ota. The entire drawing on the cup is one single line meant to represent “shared humanity and connection…” And as usual, the annual controversy started early with a leaked release of a photo. Even the media has jumped on the bandwagon, most likely to generate clicks and capitalize on all the conversations and searches. Look at all the negative headlines just doing a simple “Starbucks Cup” search:

google search results for starbucks green cup

  So, based on all this perceived negative sentiment around a simple disposable coffee cup, we wanted to see for ourselves what conversations were happening, and if in fact the overall sentiment was negative as many of the online news outlets would like you to believe. Using our software and our Stream product, we set up a simple query on Wednesday afternoon so we could watch in real-time all the conversations as they were happening.
In the image below, what you are seeing are the mentions of the green cup as they are happening. Red indicates negative sentiment, green represents positive sentiment, and blue is neutral or simple general commenting. The size of the bubble represents someone’s influence which factors numbers of followers, website visitors, and engagement numbers. Here is what we are seeing across social media, rss blogs, and other sites where conversations are happening:

sentiment around starbucks green cup

 

 

As you can see, covering mentions of the past couple days, the sentiment is overwhelmingly positive and neutral combined which we’re sure is exactly how Starbucks wants it. And with the amount of impressions and conversations people are having about the cup, this would be deemed a victory for their design and marketing team. All hail free advertising and social impressions!
The next image taken from our Stream platform, shows some of top hashtags associated with mentions of the “green cup”, trending keywords, positive and negative terms associated with the mentions, and also those people who are talking about the topic. This includes Donald Trump and NBC News Commentary:

social media analytics

 

In the next image, we are looking at some the influencers who are talking about the cup, along with the reach of those people and brands in a single post or comment.

Starbucks cup

 

In the next couple images, we have a sampling of the Tweets and Instagram posts as they are happening, and the content included within those posts. We have no way of knowing if Starbucks and their team are closely monitoring the conversations, but they should be. It’s an easy way to find your company’s ambassadors and a reason connect with them. Our platform allows you to do that right from the interface too.
tweets about starbucks green cup
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starbucks green cup instagram

 

The moral of the story, is that negative headlines most likely will draw clicks to the respective websites, and some may say these outlets might even be trying to incite the negativity to help themselves generate more reach and impressions, but the data rarely lies. Overall, the sentiment is generally positive and neutral. Starbucks is generating a ton of exposure that many think, or would like you to think, that a simple green cup with one-line artwork is taking down a coffee behemoth. On the contrary. Looking at our data, and the recent lines at our local Starbucks, they are going to be just fine. At least until next Thursday (Nov.10th) when the new red holiday cups arrive in your local Starbucks, and we start it all over again. But this time, the red cups will offer a buy one get one on all their eligible holiday drinks from Nov.10-14. That leaves us to wonder what the negative headlines will be with a free holiday drink offer on Nov.10?? “Starbucks free eggnog lattes causing major outrage at local chicken farms”? But we will still look at the data no matter what the negative headlines say.

 

If you would like to see a demo of Stream and how it can benefit your business by using social media as a customer service and brand tool, contact us at 720.880.5492 or email our team at info@iwesocial.com.
Read more about Stream HERE

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