Measuring the return on investment (ROI) with social media marketing is a relevant, but loaded challenge. I prefer to begin by differentiating marketing goals from sales goals then partnering with my clients to bridge the gap.
Let’s start with social media marketing. We must identify two to three specific marketing goals and establish concrete metrics to measure the effectiveness. For example, if increased web traffic is a goal, we could start by identifying creative ways to drive traffic from social media and measure the progress with Google analytics. Click here for more examples.
Meeting these marketing goals are paramount to generating sales, but we can’t rely on social media marketing alone. For example, what do we want people to do once they go to the website? Opt-in to a free guide? Share a blog post with their audience? Complete the 'contact us' form?
Keep in mind that these actions only fill the upper tiers of the sales funnel.
There are three elements that help to bridge the gap: business operations (ex: audience want/need for the service or product, customer satisfaction, etc.), current marketing initiatives (for the purpose of identifying specific ways to integrate social media into the mix) and commitment (the mindset that social media is relationship marketing and relationships take time).
Social media is an extension of a business; a concentrated, cohesive effort that must be routinely evaluated and refined.
Asking how many customers a business will acquire from social media is as silly as assuming that attendance at a networking event will result in new business. We must walk before we can run – and we must have proper footwear if we want to go the distance.