The definitive guide of how to measure the ROI of your social media activity

hj_townsend
Director
The Excedia Group
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In last week’s post, I talked about most of us being busy fools on social media, because we kid ourselves that we are really measuring ROI for our social media activity. I promised in that article that I would write another post on how to measure your ROI, reliably and in such a way that you can take real business decisions with the data you collect.
Step 1: Devise your social media strategy
The 1st stage to be able to measure your ROI effectively is to devise your social media strategy. By this, I don’t mean:
“I’m going to use twitter, blogging and LinkedIn to win business”, I mean, defining the “how I am going to use twitter, blogging, YouTube and LinkedIn to win business’.
For example, simple social media strategies that I have seen work very well for professional service firms (and businesses in general) include:
1.       Using twitter to build up a relationship with the local press to secure free PR for our firm
2.      Using staff to publicise the business's free seminar on their personal Facebook pages
In these two specific cases, the first firm generated over £500k of free PR in their local press. The second firm filled a 500 seater cinema with attendees for their seminar, which resulted in 17 new pieces of business.
In each of these cases, the firms have identified how they can use social media to positively influence their business development processes and practices.
If you are missing a clearly defined social media strategy then it becomes nigh on impossible to measure the intended impact vs your actual impact of what you are doing.
Let’s now think about your firm’s or maybe your own personal business development strategy. For example, your aim, maybe, is to stay close to a certain number of introducers – can you use social media to increase the number of introducers and increase your visibility, in a way that is more time efficient than just using email, phone and meetings alone?
Step 2: identify your inputs vs outputs
When you are new to the social media game, it can be a little bit too much of a jump to go from ‘so if I follow this person’ to that means ‘I win business’. This is where measuring your activity and the results of your activity can have a discernable difference with your effectiveness on social media. (Particularly in the early days of being on social media)
I am not talking here about becoming a slave to your klout score. What I’m talking about is identifying the outputs you get for the inputs you do, such as:
  • Increase in views of my LinkedIn profile after I have added in more keywords or changed the text
  • Increase in number of followers I get when I post up different types of content, or changing the time at which I post.
  • Number of visitors to your website based on what is being posted or talked about
These are ‘activity’ based measures, and until you have an established social media presence, essential for you to be measuring. These measures allow you and your firm to suss out general social media cause and effect. They also help you understand about what works and what doesn’t work, with a view to then starting to measure outcome based ROI measures. (see step 3)
Step 3: Identify your ‘outcome’ based measures
If you have a clearly defined social media strategy then it becomes easy to identify the right outcomes to measure. Some good outcomes to measure, that I have seen firms look at:
  • New business won, where social media has been used in part of the business development process
  • New business won from relationships built or maintained using social media
  • Number of people attending a virtual or physical seminar as a result of publicizing the event on social media
  • Introducers moved from ‘outer circle’ into ‘inner circle’ as a result of using social media – where ‘outer circle’ and ‘inner circle’ have been clearly defined.
Step 4: Decide on how, when and where you will track and monitor your activity and outcome based measures
It’s not enough to know what KPIs are you want to impact as part of your social media strategy. You need to actually measure and monitor these, and root cause where you are getting a gap versus your action and intended impact. The question is, who is going to do this? How will the management information be recorded on your firm’s systems? What forums will the results be reviewed in? Who will record the information on your management information systems?

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By Richard Lane
03rd Apr 2013 09:50

There are some great points laid out in this piece. Developing a detailed strategy does not have to be complicated and can can include very simple steps which can help reach you goals when donse effectively. The overall theme of this piece is quite accurate, you will not be able to measure accurate metrics if you do not have a clear plan in place.

Richard Lane, director at durhamlane, specialising in IT sales training and sales coaching.

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