More and more companies are starting to see the value in social media. These same companies though are trying to assign a dollar value to its social media impact and that isn’t easy. They are thinking in the same terms as buying advertising and that doesn’t apply to social media. Chris Heuer said in Measuring—and Capturing—the Value of Social Media that most companies have focused on the financial aspect of investment and return and have “failed to recognize that the very nature of the market has changed, expanding the concept of “returns” and their significance to the company.”
A great way to look at social media ROI is to know what you’re looking for. The article Social Media ROI: It’s Not One Size Fits All talks about how measuring ROI isn’t the same for everyone and a lot of people don’t know what they want from social media. A brand needs to set a goal for its social media efforts before it can measure anything. If you are diving into data blindly, you won’t know what you’re looking at or looking for.
Each goal will have different metrics and it all isn’t applicable to how many likes or comments something gets. For instance, if brand exposure is the goal then one should look at mentions and sentiment. The metrics will be different if your goal is to drive people back to your website. Having a goal will only clear the path to ROI that a brand should take. What works for one company is probably not going to work for the next because they have different goals.
Livestrong CEO Doug Ulman gave a great speech in the video Harness the True Power of Social Media. Ulman’s main focus was social media isn’t about money but instead connecting with others, touching lives and sharing stories. It’s not a one way tool of communication but some companies still put this into practice when it only pushes sales messages. Until a company sees the true value of social media, it won’t start creating the right kind of content for its audience.
Mashable.com ran an article titled 5 Social Media Tactics to Increase ROI. It listed engage, be authentic, keep content at a premium, integrate real-time apps and experiment as its tips. While these tactics are helpful best practices for brands to follow on social media, I don’t immediately see how they lead to ROI. A brand utilizing all of these tips will create a better community for its brand, which will hopefully lead it to achieve the brand’s goal for social media.
Do you know of brands that focus too much on the sale instead of forming a community?
What social media goal do you think most companies set?