Written by Nicholas Grizzell

August 6, 2014 at 7:00 am

The Ultimate Guide to Getting Social ROI

Year after year, social marketing has strong growth. And year after year, social marketers still worry about ROI.

How do you measure it? How do you interpret it? How do you demonstrate its value to key stakeholders? Does it even exist?

The industry is young, and social marketing is a bit unconventional, so it can be hard to understand. But the ROI is there. It’s just a matter of recording it correctly and realizing it fully.

Thankfully, here at Agorapulse, we like to make your job a bit easier.

That’s why we’re going to review our blog’s top posts on the subject from the last few years. It’s the distilled wisdom of industry leaders, conference sessions, and our social marketing team.

Let’s get started.

1. How to Measure Social Media ROI

Every business has to make a profit. And whether you’re a social marketer or a traditional advertiser, you’re ultimately there to drive ROI. That means you need to make a positive impact on:

  1. Revenue generation.
  2. Cost reduction.

It’s good to have likes, retweets, comments, and shares. It’s better to have conversions and greater cost efficiencies.But social marketing contributes to these objectives, and you know it. You just have to prove it. You have to establish a connection between social results and business results. And this is how you do it:

  • Track everything you’re doing on social media – from Twitter to Facebook.
  • In your data, separate the users you’ve interacted with socially from those you haven’t.
  • Compare the two categories – which one converts more, churns less, and requires the least support?
  • If it’s the social category (most likely), bring these findings to your executives to show them your ROI!

2. Converting Likes to Dollars for Small Businesses

When you’re a small business owner, your budget is usually small too. How you invest it matters.

And though social marketing has a low overhead and is generally very cost-effective, you don’t want to waste any dollars there – particularly when you don’t have to.

Think about what’s important to you, why you’re marketing on social media in the first place.

Are you interested in growing your brand recognition on Facebook or handling customer support on Twitter? How much is a fan or like worth to you? What post types drive the most traffic to your site?

Think it over. Then, invest in a metric calculator like Agorapulse’s Facebook ROI reporting tool.

You can assign monetary values to KPIs like fans, shares, and likes, viewing their performance over time. It lets you see how valuable your page – content and all – really is, in the kind of dollars and cents language that you can act on.

Remember: a metric that’s meaningful to one company might not be very relevant to yours.

Tie your social KPIs to your business objectives.

3. Facebook Generates a 1,500% ROI for a Humanitarian Organization

Facebook marketing isn’t just for business. It’s a solid investment for NGOs and non-profits as well.

The Abbé Pierre Foundation, which campaigns for better housing conditions for the poor, wanted to get the word out about their cause. A modest part of the budget went to Facebook, even though the results were anything but.

Between ads, a petition app, and a specially designed flash module, they delivered with Facebook nearly half of the 155,000 signatures the overall campaign brought in.

What does this tell us about running awareness campaigns on the world’s most popular social network?

  1. Facebook marketing isn’t just for business; it works well for charities too.
  2. Using multiple content types – apps, ads, etc. – can drive a stronger return.
  3. Facebook marketing can be more cost-effective than traditional channels.

Interestingly, most of the best work came from a few spectacular fans. They signed the petition and prompted their friends to as well. They clicked and commented and shared. They were, in industry parlance, brand ambassadors.

Once identified, these ambassadors should be targeted with special offers because they’re naturally passionate.

Brand ambassadors will do some of your best marketing for you – without charging you a cent.

4. Going Beyond Social ROI

A lot of focus is, understandably, put on advancing key business objectives with social marketing. You already know that marketing at large is often held responsible for ROI, so it makes sense that social media investments would be accountable too.

Except, that is, when ROI doesn’t mean what we think it does. When it’s long-term and built more on branding than sales. A good brand can drive a cult following, like Harley-Davidson and Apple. But it starts with trust.

Trust is built on interaction, consistency, and authenticity. In that order.

  • Interact honestly and openly with your fans.
  • Be consistent, polite, and engaging with your posts.
  • Invest in strengthening your existing network instead of always expanding it.

Your reputation can make or break you. It can apologize on your behalf for your mistakes, because you’re usually known for doing better, and it can discourage otherwise interested prospects because they’ve heard or seen unflattering things.

Social marketing isn’t only about return on investment (ROI). It’s also about return on relationships (ROR).

5. Facebook Page ROI Calculator

You have a strong foundation to build on. You have industry-vetted strategies and tactics and procedures.

You just need the right tool to track it all. We’ve gone over what to measure, so now it’s time to talk about how to do it.

Which brings us to the Facebook Page ROI Calculator from AgoraPulse.

And like any good calculator, the AgoraPulse one simplifies a process that would otherwise take a lot of time (and in your case, money).

Working on Google Analytics, using a customer intelligence platform like KISSmetrics, and holding yourself to a link tracking regimen is an investment.

It takes time to set up. It takes money to fund – whether in product costs or labor ones. You might not have that luxury. You might need to be more nimble. With the Facebook Page ROI Calculator, you can at least get the value of your clicks, organic impressions, and qualified prospects. Just put in a few values and let us do the hard work.

Now, you can really hit the ground running!

Social Media ROI

So, tell us, what’s been your experience with social marketing?

Let us know how our tips work in a comment below. And be sure to share a few of your own!

Nicholas Grizzell

Nicholas is a copywriter and marketer, with a particularly strong interest in the digital space. He prefers his content driven by ROI and his steak well-marbled and rare.

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