Friday, February 12, 2010

Social Media ROI

I've heard many people on both the agency side and client side say that it is difficult if not impossible to measure ROI for social media. I've also heard it said that social media only works for consumer marketing. I wanted to take a few moments to put in my two cents.

So let's start with the most fundamental question. Is social media a viable marketing tactic for your business or your client's business? You can qualify this by answering a few questions: What are your goals for social media? Can you have a social media account or do you need to go through legal, corp communications channels first? Is it okay if everyone knows about the updates you'll be sharing? etc.

Now, it is difficult to simply measure buzz and translate that into ROI. You'll need to set targets: mentions in blogs or social networks, inquiries, increased links, search rankings, leads from the social media sites you're using such as Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin, more media placements, etc. The best way to go about measuring ROI is to decide what your goals are and then measure your baseline. Once you have your baseline you can continuously monitor your progress.

You can measure and track some of these goals manually and there are also monitoring tools from companies that you can utilize for tracking the more difficult areas such as mentions.

As for Consumer versus B2B. Both need to be participating in some form of social media. A manufacturing plant that makes machine tools for example may not benefit greatly from having a Facebook presence but if they have a blog, a twitter account and participate in Linkedin and industry portals the benefits would be plenty.

It's really all in the planning. As with traditional advertising you need to have a strategy and track your progress to be successful.

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