It’s been an ongoing battle for years now; that social media doesn’t demonstrate a return on investment. Ever more important that we reflect upon it as the year comes to a close; and strategies for a shiny new year come to the fore.
A friend and client recently asked me what she should ask her engagement team (read social media team) to report on as she couldn’t fathom why tracking a #hashtag was notable. Indeed, social media users are sharing more than ever – which is great news. But why is that meaningful for brands? What questions should we seek answers to?
- Is there a correlation between engagement and content type?
- No. of tweets and similar
- No. views and source
- Are there certain photos or creative assets that do better than others?
- No. of contributors
- Timeline deliveries (number of impressions – and reach is the same thing – e.g number of impressions)
- Hashtag usage – #socialmediaroi
- Additional followers – across channel
- How many times has someone marked a specific post as spam?
- What types of engagements are the most popular (Hint: it’s probably going to be the lightest commitment – ex. a like or a RT)
- What was going on in the user’s world at the time a post was made? I’d be wanting context here
Conversion orientated (I know right!):
- If there was a call-to-action (CTA) on a post, did users respond in the desired manner? o Did they click the link to view my content?
- Answer the question?
- Sign up for your newsletter?
- Play the video?
- Buy something?
- If not, what did they do instead (if anything)?
- How are social channels driving traffic to the brand’s website?
- Where on the site did they land; are we tracking site entries and exits?
- How about form completion?
- Are we using conversion ads? What is the impact of them?
- What amount of income generated is attributable to social media – even if non; exclusively?
- What is the nature of the content-based comments posts receive?
- What is the nature of the messages and feedback communities provide unrelated to content? Testimonials or praise? Complaints? Neutral items (like questions)? • What is the nature of the conversation about the brand (this requires social listening)? • Are there key phrases that we can pull out for consideration? Exposure (overlaps with engagement):
- How many people saw my content compared to the number of people in my fan base? (not current followers etc)
- What’s the average reach, per platform?
- Is there a trend (like time of day, or day of the week, a particular show is on tv) where things are higher or lower than the average?
So, in a not so short response, social media return on investment is quantified by asking the right questions. Not, demanding it drive sales or engagement alone.