Once again #MarketingMinds chat proved itself to be a pool of information last Friday, as industry professionals joined to discuss social media ROI. Social media ROI is a topic our industry is often challenged with and baffled by, so we encouraged participants to shed light on the topic and help us prove to our bosses the worth of social – and hopefully encourage them to increase our budgets!

Q1 Which metrics do you use to measure social media ROI?

@sameerjawle suggests measuring user engagement to see whether social campaigns have been a success; this is easily achieved with the help of a good social media monitoring tools which identify and quantify engagement for us. Engagement is increasingly important as we shift even further away from monologue marketing and into the realm of dialogue marketing. As my colleague Leslie explains, by engaging we are earning media and thus reap the impressions that we’ve traditionally used to measure success.

But let’s hold our horses for a second; before users engage with us, they have to be aware of us. Fortunately, due to the large communities on social networks, this can be as easily achieved. Reach and impressions were mentioned in the chat as important social metrics to monitor, due to their correspondence with sales. Moreover, measuring reach and impressions can allow us to view the success of our message holistically.

@QuestPR uses Google Analytics to measure metrics, specifically for websites and blogs, whilst @FreshEgg uses Google Analytics to measure social referrals and campaign tag links AKA UTM codes. It would seem UTM codes have clear presence in many PR tool boxes and have been mentioned a number of times in different #MarketingMinds chats. @Susie_cox provided participants with an eBook link should they wish to learn more about attaching UTM tags to links, you can find this in the chat transcript.

@Eksays offerers a top tip on how we can achieve social media ROI success- by listening on social. After all, we are on social to please our audience so listen to what they like, dislike and want. Including this feedback in our social strategy is a sure way of improving our value offering.

Q2 Is measuring social media ROI easy or necessary?

@QuestPR says yes to both, stating measurement tools make it easy for us and recording social media ROI is necessary as it gives a good indication of the areas on which we must improve. @TheRealSJR agrees offering an easy example: Track a UTM code to a click-through to a signup or purchase and attribute LTV (life time value) = ROI. On the contrary, @megan_j_hughes feels the ease of measuring social media ROI depends on the metric, especially as the desired outcome of sales is far from a holistic process. @Animatedgiff agrees stating measurement is only as easy as the KPIs we define. Meanwhile, @AdotIdotspace stated it’s never easy but is definitely necessary.

Q3 How can we translate social media ROI into business ROI?

@JeremySinger1 states that success generated by a brand’s social media activity, using metrics proposed in question 1, can help determine future investment. @Susie_cox suggests looking at how much a lead from a social media channel is worth to our businesses. We are able to find leads on social using tools that monitor conversations surrounding industry keywords or competitor names.

Participants on the whole feel that social goals should be set in line with business goals; we can then assess social return assigned to certain goals. @QuestPR agrees, explaining that if social and business goals are joint it’s a win-win situation for both, as social should feed into business ROI.

Q4 Are you measuring the ROI of social media channels individually, how?

@Susie_cox explains that by measuring engagement and reach per channel we are able to determine the primary and secondary channels to focus efforts on. @Eksays judges where to have presence based on audience profiling and psychology. Alternatively, there are tools out there, such as Meltwater Buzz, that can assist us in finding our audience’s preferred channels and provide us with a more comprehensive perspective on channel selection. For example, allowing us to identify if Twitter is used more often for complaints than Facebook, or whether our audience engage more with images on Facebook than Twitter.

Q5 Should some social media channels be exempt from ROI expectations?

@JeremySinger1 argues that each channel brings something to the table, due to their individual USP, moreover they should either compliment or attract a new audience. @Animatedgiff believes that if a channel contributes to demand or lead generation in particular then they should remain on our radar more so than others as there is clear ROI to measure.

What are your thoughts on social media ROI? If you was unable to join #MarketingMinds your participation is still valid, add your comments to the box below!