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Gini Dietrich

Five Ways to Measure Social Media Efforts

By: Gini Dietrich | March 8, 2012 | 
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A couple of weeks ago, I was standing in line at security in the Ft. Lauderdale airport. I was fascinated at the three and a half hour line (which I thankfully didn’t have to go through) and commented on it to the guy standing behind me.

We started to talk and he asked me what I was doing in Florida. I explained I had just given the opening keynote at the Retail Packaging Association trade show on using the web for business growth.

He asked if that included social media. I said it did and he relayed a story to me about how many cold calls he gets from social media experts wanting to start Facebook and Twitter accounts for his business.

I said, “Yeah. Well, anyone with a Twitter account and a keyboard is a social media expert.”

They are a dime a dozen.

Yet, there are few who know how to integrate their expertise with real business results.

I swear, if I hear one more time that you can’t measure the ROI of a bar of soap (or your mom or a bag of chips or whatever the cool phrase is at the time), I may actually go ballistic.

The fact of the matter is, you can (and should) measure your social media efforts. Sure, if you’re only tweeting or updating your Facebook page, there isn’t going to be a return-on-investment, other than an increase in fans or followers.

But if you integrate your efforts with other marketing and communication strategies, there are several metrics you can easily track.

  1. Leads. The number of qualified leads that come through your efforts are easily tracked with Google analytics, sites such as Clicky, and good old fashioned asking customers where they heard about you. If you set up your tracking correctly, you’ll be able to watch who comes from the blog, email marketing, and even your social networks.
  2. Converted leads. As you begin to watch your qualified leads, you can do things to nurture them along, keeping you top-of-mind. In some cases, that’s going to be “talking” to them, one-on-one, every day on the social networks. People buy from people they like and trust. And trust can be built through the social networks. But be sure you’re tracking those leads so you can show how your efforts help convert them to customers.
  3. Shortened sales cycle. This won’t necessarily apply to consumer-facing businesses, but if you work in B2B, you know how long it takes to close a new customer. For some, it’s three days and other it’s 12 months. By using social media to stay top-of-mind with your qualified leads, you are able to shorten the sales cycle. Track how long your leads take to become customers and compare that to the other methods of closing new business.
  4. Improved margins. Margins is another word for profit. It comes from the margin between your top line (revenue or sales) and your bottom line (profits after expenses such as payroll, benefits, and rent). Any time you can improve the number that’s left after expenses, the better the company does, in terms of growth. Perhaps there is a new product you can sell online to your social networks or you have created a premium eBook that you can sell. By thinking of new ways to sell, you’re increasing the margins for the company. Even if it’s only one percent, and you can demonstrate that came from your efforts, you’ll be hailed a hero.
  5. Increased fundraising. Not all of us work in for-profit businesses. If you work for a non-profit, the goal might be to increase fundraising. Create a Twitter chat or a program such as 12for12K to demonstrate your social media capabilities are raising money for the organization.

This certainly isn’t every metric you can track, but I was allotted 500 words for this blog post and I’m already over my amount.

But I’ll leave you with this…once you learn how to measure your social media efforts, in real dollars and cents, you’ll get the attention of the executive team and create an opportunity for you to become an investment, instead of an expense.

This first appeared on Social Media Sun.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

94 comments
biancaben
biancaben

I really liked this, very straight forward. There are a lot of thoughts and ideas about social meda measurement that are being recycled but I thought you provided some fresh ideas that can help the bottom line.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@DeborahInComms It's frustrating people are saying you can't measure it

naimeesha
naimeesha

@realsocialroi thaks for sharing

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@HeidiEKMassey You can always carry a ninja sword. You just tell people I said so

Adam | Customer Experience
Adam | Customer Experience

Great stuff! I think posts like this are important. Figuring out the ROI piece is very much in the self interest of most marketers (unless the ROI is not good).

 

Like any "it" thing (i.e. bubble), there is a grace period where no one wants to buck the trend. In the end, Corporate dollars are finite and will be given to those departments who can prove that they will produce a return on them.

Andrea T.H.W.
Andrea T.H.W.

I think the real difficulty with social media is measuring the real return vs efforts or time. Like the Gold Rush, how many really became rich? Or richer? I mean, beside those who sold tools.

 

But as you said if it can be measured then social media are a tool which can become useful for business. Depending on the result of the measure clearly.

 

Happy weekend! Here's already Friday. :)

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

Well, I am no "guru" but I incorporate Social into Small Business very often.  I just signed up for ArgyleSocial, which makes measuring results EASY and interesting... and very useful.

 

How long can 'unmeasurable' Social last?

DonaldinDC
DonaldinDC

Great metrics-focus: "you can (and should) measure your social media efforts" from @ginidietrich - five tips http://t.co/r0rlYaOd "

evolutionfiles
evolutionfiles

@miguelcurrey Great piece on sm measurement, thx for RTing it. How's your week goin?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@ideasurge Where the heck have you been?!?

Craig McBreen
Craig McBreen

All this stuff did seem difficult to me, until I started reading Spin Sucks.

 

With so many tools to choose from, so many platforms to keep up with, and what seems like daily tech updates, how in the world can anyone really be a "Social Media Expert?" If they are, they must be smarter than Carl Sagan was.

 

I'm a social media baby, but in the branding business for more years than I'd like to mention. Guess what? I still cold call AND about 50% of my currently client work is from those calls. I know, crazy! I realize I need to change this strategy right now and am working on it daily, using your advice of course, Gini.

 

Now, trying to figure out G+ for business.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@davedelaney I see you here and on @spinsucks!

nateriggs
nateriggs

I guess I never understood what was so hard about ROI in social media. It's just tools. Use tools well and you get value. Use tools poorly and you've wasted your investment of time, energy, money or all three.

 

It comes down to two sets of metrics -- the ones that tell you how big and strong you are building your new online channel and then the KPI's for your business that are effected by the types of things you do on the channel you've built up across social media.

 

But ... I still think my mom still has ROI too. ;)

clearpointpr
clearpointpr

Everyone with a keyboard does think they're social media experts. We listened to Jason Falls speak last week at the San Diego Social Media Symposium and he declared "there are no social media experts" and we couldn't agree more. We are always reseraching and learning more about social media because it changes SO fast. Once you 'know' something, it changes again. 

wabbitoid
wabbitoid

All these guys pitching have become useful to me.  I tell my clients that if I don't reach a certain measurable we agree on in advance I don't get paid.  Usually it relates directly to the bottom line - people in the door, dollars in the till.  I get business that way because none of the other cold-callers are willing to do this. 

Justjeffpls
Justjeffpls

@ginidietrich Hi Gini! (not implying u r) ( :

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @adamtoporek Yep. Exactly right. And, I'll tell you what. We have one client who hired us toward the end of 2010 because they thought we'd get them on Facebook and Twitter. What we discovered were both were a waste of time for their business, but they had untapped opportunities with other online means...and they made an additional $3.2MM through our programs last year. So they're OK with not being on Twitter or Facebook.

Latest blog post: #FollowFriday: Paul Sutton

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @Andrea Hypno You're exactly right, which is why I think the Gold Rush tools is the integrated marketing communication strategy. It's not social media. It's not the platforms. It's in the integration.

Latest blog post: #FollowFriday: Paul Sutton

davedelaney
davedelaney

@ginidietrich @spinsucks I get around. :P

KaryD
KaryD

@ginidietrich Hey you. Hope you haven't gone ballistic over anything lately. :-)

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

 @ginidietrich I for one have a hard time 'selling' my clients anything I can't prove.  I'm glad of the exodus... and if my clients don't want to pay enough to cover the analysis, they shouldn't be doing Social anyway.

Craig McBreen
Craig McBreen

 @ginidietrich 

He sure knew how to say "billions and billions!" 

 

Yes, just now trying to figure it out! I guess I should search the archives here, huh?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@KaryD I haven't gone ballistic in at least a day. :)

Justjeffpls
Justjeffpls

@ginidietrich Why haven't u been n my life lately?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@JeffRice63 It's been crazy busy here! How are you?

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