Social ROI Part II: Social Media Measurability

In Part I, Social Media Monetization, I shared a few examples of how to directly increase a brand’s revenue using social media. It was a direct answer to a direct question a client had asked me. But, there’s a bigger, more important, long-term piece to the social media puzzle. And it’s called measurable ROI.

Driving prospects to a website (or landing page) and seeing an immediate revenue increase is the easiest and fastest way to understanding the power of social media. But a well-crafted strategy could take that one-time revenue increase and allow you to take what you learn and apply it to similar or brand new campaigns across other channels (new channels mean new prospects). While at the same time, the relationships you build with customers or clients allow you to sell them on other products or services once you’ve established that your brand is trustworthy, provides quality and value, and is committed to its customers needs and overall satisfaction.

Now, increasing exposure through social media leads me to think about how to measure and track results. Seems to me you’d need an analytics solution that allows you to track your social network channels just the same way you would track the performance of your website — you know, something like a Google Analytics clone, but designed to analyze and report on your social media efforts. I mean, just like GA tracks visitors, time on site, keywords, geography and many other aspects of web performance, an integrated social media measurement system would allow you to track all aspects of your brand’s social media presence.

Hmmm… Imagine being able to get real-time reporting on your social network accounts to overlay with your other (i.e. traditional) marketing initiatives – to zero in on membership trends, activity and engagement, thoughts and feelings of your customers and members, their interests, their geographical distribution, education levels, gender, employment, and countless other metrics. If you were able to compare your social media channels and understand the difference among them and their impact on your business, you might even improve your ROI by being able to adjust spends.

Imagine learning the real-time answers to questions like these:

1 – Which social channels are most effective for us?
2 – What are the accurate traffic patterns/trends?
3 – Which customers and segments are most valuable?
4 – Where are my customers and members located?
5 – What is my demographic (age, gender, education, HHI)?
6 – What’s our level of activity, engagement, membership?
7 – What are they talking about; what motivates them?
8 – Who’s talking about products / services we can offer?
9 – Which networks produce more response and better ROI?
10 – What kind of ROI are we getting, in real numbers?

Now, imagine having these answers presented to you as intuitive, thorough, visual reports. As I wrote in one of my last blog posts, “Brand Monologue? Try Brand Dialogue”, social media is about an exchange with customers and prospects, not a one-way street of self promo. A dialogue makes communication more satisfying, fulfilling and much more profitable. Successful brands have given creative thought to the process of communicating with customers – and to their social media strategy, making it a viral engagement.

Interestingly, just like traditional media, social media requires testing to learn what works and how to improve results to build a genuine community around YOUR brand.