If you type in Google “social media roi” you will get more than a million results. If you’re not really sure what you’re looking for, you’ll certainly get lost. Those three keywords still define something pretty broad.
Some of you might be looking for the magic formula so you can build a business case and go sell the social media plan to your boss, maybe the Head of Marketing, CEO, etc. You will realise then, that ROI is very tied to specific metrics that you must define before hand (otherwise, what are you measuring?).
The truth though is that there are way too many companies already using social networks to promote their brand but haven’t defined clear metrics yet (at some point they’ll have to).
However, here’s a way for you to know immediately how you’re doing:
Ask: Never miss a chance.
Every time you speak to a prospect face-to-face, over the phone or email, you and your team must (seriously, must) make a habit of asking “how did you hear about us?“. Also implement this question in your contact form for those landing on your website.
If you’re leaving regular quality breadcrumbs in the different social networks (good tweets, a useful video, engaging Facebook posts, ebook, a presentation on Slideshare, etc) I guarantee you will be VERY suprised about your prospects’ answers. Many of them will mention those breadcrumbs.
Do you realise that “how did you hear about us?” can change a lot of things, especially from a Marketing perspective. If you didn’t ask the question for example, you would have marked that prospect as a phone or walk-in lead instead.
It changes everything because now you have a better perspective of what breadcrumbs/platforms are delivering results.
How content delivers ROI
Those pieces of content that you are crafting but blindly (for now) puting online, are helping customers and prospects make decisions. So, when you receive a call, email or visit and close a sale much easier and faster, there’s a very good chance that the customer was educated before making contact with you. If “that video” helped her make 50% of her decision before ringing you, tell me what’s the ROI of that video you have in YouTube?
That’s a good way of reasoning quality content and ROI. Unfortunately, the majority of companies get it totally wrong: “how much money will I get for that tweet/post/video?“. It doesn’t work like that.
Implement a chat widget on your site
We use Zopim.com. This service helps us tremendously everyday with the “how did you hear about us?“. We can see real time the people that are on our website, where did they come from, what did they type on Google before landing on our site, what page are they on now, etc. This facilitates the tracking incredibly.
By asking consistently “how did you hear about us?” and using the valuable real-time insights from our chat widget, we found out that in 2009/2010:
- 5% of our customers came from Twitter,
- 10% from Facebook
- 10% referrals
- 15% through our LinkedIn profiles
- 20% through our video blog
- 40% through Google (never forget about Search Engines. They love your quality content) This is how most of the people will find you.
Remember that you need to come up at some point with clear metrics. However, on top of that, a good job asking “how did you hear about that” will bring some interesting results to the table as long as you’re offering good content.
How has content delivered ROI for you? Any specific way in which you measured it?