Social ROI for Dummies

Originally posted at the Likeable Media Blog.

One of the questions echoing in the offices of every social media marketer is the value of social. Here at Likeable, we even recently published a whitepaper on the subject of ROI. Marketers always ask themselves: how much return can we expect to see on our investment? How will this benefit us? Is it worth our time, money, and resources? While the question of social ROI is a tough nut to crack, there are some surprisingly simple checks you can use to take the pulse of your social marketing efforts and make sure you’re on the right track. Let’s have a look and see how you’re doing!

Put Quality First
Whether you’re building a social app or just creating content to be posted on relevant social networks, always keep quality in mind. Are you providing the consumer with the best possible experience? Will they be compelled to buy your product or service? Are you presenting your brand in the best light? Take a critical look at your output and determine whether it’s something that you would find enticing enough to convert from fan to customer. Quality content goes a long way to attract new customers and maintain current loyalists.

Define your KPIs
Before you can determine whether your efforts are successful, you need to define what success means for your brand and your campaign. Are you looking to generate sales directly from your social campaign? Maybe your short-term goal is to build a larger base with your current campaign and capitalize on those new fans over time. Are you most concerned with growth, engagement, click-throughs, or impressions? Define success and then set solid numbers that allow you to track your progress. Plan ahead and consider the possibility that you may need to adjust those numbers if outside factors cause you to fall short of your goals.

Analyze Your Traffic
Social impressions can come from a wide variety of sources. People might be experiencing your social campaign as a result of your social ads, a link from your website, your mobile app, cross promotion from your other social networks, or any number of outside sources like blogs. Knowing the top sources of your traffic gives you the power to optimize your experience for your users. If they’re just passing through because they read about you on their favorite blog, you’ll want to keep things short and sweet so they can get all the info they need quickly, but still feel compelled to stick around. If they’re long-time fans, you’ll want to take that into account as well. Know where your audience came from and always think about the user experience.

Know Consumer Habits
It’s important to remember that your audience may be very different from that of your competitors. Take a close look at what makes your community tick. Also keep in mind that users on different social networks and platforms will interact with you differently. Twitter followers will expect minimal involvement like Retweeting or using a hashtag, while Facebook users will be more inclined to fill out a sweepstakes form or submit a photo entry. Smart brands build their campaigns so consumers get what they want and need out of the experience on every network.

For better or for worse, the Internet has bred a culture of brutal honesty. People will be very quick to let you know when they don’t like what you’ve done. The trick is to harness this criticism and turn it into something constructive. Listen and then internalize the feedback you receive. Make changes to future campaigns and to your day-to-day content strategy accordingly. Constantly look for areas that can be improved. While there’s something to be said for sticking to your tried and true tactics, there is no progress without risk-taking and innovation. Use consumer feedback as a weather vane to determine trends and see where the winds of change are blowing next.

As consumers spend more and more of their time on social networks, it’s essential to integrate social campaigns into your brand’s marketing strategy. Determining the ROI of your social campaigns isn’t always easy, but the items I’ve outlined above are essential to moving in the right direction. Consider this a checklist to get your brand on the right track and begin determining what to track, how to track it, and how to utilize the data you collect. For even more info on determining and showing social ROI, check out our upcoming webinar.  By keeping an eye on your analytics and being flexible enough to make changes based on them, you should be able to put together a solid strategy that allows you to measure and maximize your social ROI.

Have you successfully shown ROI from your social campaigns? Do you have pointers to share? Let us know below!

Frank Emanuele

I’m a proud Catholic, social media nerd, podcaster, musician, blogger, New Yorker & Community Manager at Likeable Media. I’m all about Superman, Star Wars & the Beatles! I love to express myself in the written word. There’s nothing quite like reading your ideas on a page (or screen, as the case may be) and knowing that others are reading those ideas and thinking about them. Please read, comment, and most importantly, enjoy! The content and opinions represented in this blog represent my personal views and not the views of my employer. For more info, visit