A Simple Way To Measure Social Media ROI

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.

The results:

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?

Comments ( 10 )
  • Heidi Jermyn says:

    Great little chat widget there Fred. Thanks for the share 🙂

  • Channelship says:

    You’re welcome Heidi!

  • Matt Chandler says:

    Hi Fred, interesting post, but I think a bit misleading? I’m not sure that asking people is really the answer to measuring Social Media ROI.nnIt may be simple – sure, but a couple of flaws in your argument.nnFor example, when we get asked that question, do we always tell the truth? No, because we’re evasive, strangely private human beings in that respect, and we don’t like to tell.nnSecondly, aren’t you missing the whole point of Social Media as a Digital Marketing channel? The whole thing is completely measurable, down to the last click, mention and referral. When it’s done right, we can use a simple dashboard to see exactly where those customers came from, which social sites they saw us on and start to establish their engagement level without ever needing to ask the question.

  • Anonymous says:

    Great Post Fred – very good

  • Channelship says:

    Thanks for the comment Matt.nnBy reading your comment, I must assume that you haven’t read the post correctly.nI’m not sure in what line I’m “offering the answer to measuring social media ROI”.nI started off by saying that you need to have proper metrics to know what are you measuring.nnThe problem Matt is that you’re only seeing it from your perspective, as an Internet marketer.nThis post was written for those in Marketing and Communications Departments that have been pumping good content but haven’t found a way to measure their results and are frustrated as a result. It happens a lot.nThat’s my type of customer so I know their problem. As a result, what I’m sharing in this post is not a magic formula for the industry but something simple (as the title suggests) that has worked really well with us. That’s it.

  • Elaine Rogers says:

    Sometimes, the hardest things in life are the simplest!nThe question u201chow did you hear about us?u201c should be asked by every provider, whether product or service, online or offline.nnThanks for great post Fred!

  • Channelship says:

    Thanks Elaine!nnMakes sense indeed!

The comments are now closed.