Gini Dietrich

Social Media Measurement: What's the ROI?

By: Gini Dietrich | August 19, 2009 | 

Yesterday morning I moderated a discussion on social media measurement at #SMBChicago. We started the discussion with some of the free tools I blogged about a couple of weeks ago (see it here).

Then we spent some time discussing additional tools. They are as follows:

* I personally love this URL shortener because it’s much more accurate than, plus it shoots your content into StumbleUpon, which helps with your search engine optimization and search engine marketing.

* Double Click: I don’t know much about Double Click from my own experience, but maybe @earthbelowus can guide you.

* Hootsuite: There is a debate between Hootsuite and TweetDeck for a desktop application. I use TweetDeck, but have been playing with Hootsuite. The only reason I haven’t fully gone Hootsuite is because I have too many groups set up in TweetDeck and it’ll take me a full day to transfer them. But those in the discussion today swear by it!

* TubeMogul @Big_Teeth was telling us he uses this to track video users.

But the biggest take-away was not in the free tools we discussed, but in the five areas that offer the most ROI, measurement, and dollars and cents:

1. Brand awareness: Hard to measure straight to dollars and cents, but you’ll know from siteVOLUME, Google searches, popuri, and other tools whether or not your brand awareness has increased. You’ll also be able to tell from gut, if you’re really paying attention.

2. Thought leadership: You’ll know whether or not this is successful if you’re invited to speak at conferences, on panels, interviewed for stories, or people are linking to your blog/Web site when they publish content. Unless you eventually get paid for these things, it won’t automatically translate to dollars and cents, but everyone wants to work with the popular, smart kid and the more you’re out there, the more business you’ll drive.

3. Prospecting for new business/customers: Create referral networks or (as much as I hate them) affiliate programs to drive business to you. Use social media just like you would a networking event. Go often, network, connect, and find people to work with. This is the best way to drive dollars and cents because new business means added revenue and bigger profits.

4. Recruiting new talent: I’m sorry to headhunters out there, but social media is going to put you out of business. You absolutely can recruit new talent just by being open and transparent about a day in the life of your company, what your culture is like, and what the vision is for the business. You’ll attract people who want to work with you just by being out there.

5. Brand loyalty through engagement: It doesn’t matter what your business is – B2B or B2C – if you’re engaging with your customers, you are creating loyalty. Today people EXPECT to have a personal relationship with the people who work at the companies they buy from, including the CEO. And if people are loyal because they have a personal relationship with you, you can make a mistake, apologize, and not lose the customer.

Thanks to @monicaobrien, @Big_Teeth, @tamcdonald, @julibarcelona, @tektitegroup, @lindantonio, @cgrab34, @earthbelowus, @dockane, @chiarchitecture, and Akanksha Hoskote, for the lively, and informative, discussion!

Do you have additional measurement tools that you use?

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. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Thanks again for moderating at Social Media Breakfast and for sharing this great recap, Gini. Sounds like you had a great discussion going at your table! I’ve been using for my URL shortening, but you’ve sold me on giving a try. I’m interested to see the difference in analytics.

    Co-Host, Social Media Breakfast Chicago

  • Nicely recapped Gini, inasmuch as my morning-reviling brain could remember.

    One of the things that I took away was that there are so many different tools available and all of our situations are different based on our goals, but ultimately as the mainstream starts to see how well we can track and analyze things on the web vs. TV or radio impressions, we’ll start reaping the benefits of our early adaption to the medium.

    Now I have to go back to learning how the hell to use all those new tools that were brought up in conversation yesterday.

  • Thanks for the recap! I learned a few new things that I’ll need to check out. Now I have to go follow @SMBChicago to be sure I can hit up future events!

    Dawn McKenzie, APR

  • One area we didn’t discuss relative to ROI is crisis management. Generally speaking, two of the most critical attributes of a winning crisis communication strategy are speed and transparency. Can you think of another communication tool that facilitates speed and transparency quite like micro-blogging/social media? Savvy crisis managers will continue to find new ways to use social platforms as they navigate challenging issues.

  • Gini!

    It was a great chat, and I took a full page of notes that a few others not attending our session have asked me to duplicate for them, so I guess you were in demand!

    Here are a few of the other tools mentioned that I captured in my note-taking, as well as a few I use regularly:

    BatchBook: for capturing Twitter Followers/Friends (downloadable as a csv file.

    DemandBase: great real-time tool that allows a website owner to see which companies website hits are coming from (great for prospecting follow-up)

    Twendz: Was this the Waggener Edstrom tool we mentioned for monitoring social commentary?

    Others: FilterBox, AWStats,, Twitter Analyzer & Grader, Social Meter, SiteVolume,

    Thanks again for a great and valuable chat to all!


  • Cyril Nigg

    A bit further explanation on Double Click…
    We use DART/Double Click (which is a pay service owned by Google) to track conversions and optimize ad campaigns through applications on social media sites. In my experience, it works best for landing pages or web forms. Each page of the process is tagged and tracked, similar to web analytics. However, Double Click allows you to see exactly what ad placement or application drove visitors to the site. It also retains the original ad information even when visitors leave your site and return. This tool is mainly used to track traffic across multiple online channels, including search and display.

    A free alternative I have found useful is the URL Builder in Google Analytics.

  • Thanks for posting those Doc, I of course forgot my writing utensils and missed a few of those that I wanted to remember.

    I’ve already gotten more involved at looking at my google analytics, and will check out some of the other things that are going down. I want to make my company’s new website work for us.

  • I really learned a lot from our table at @SMBChicago. I also took a full page of notes and wrote down a bunch of new tools that I need to find time to learn about now!

    I was pleased to hear that people have some of the same questions that I do about social media, ROI and just uses in general. Sometimes, it’s nice to know you’re not alone in your journey to understand tools better.

    Great to meet everyone at our table and thanks Gini for being such a great moderator. I look forward to connecting with all of you more in the future.

    Doc, thanks for posting those additional tools in your comment. While I was writing everything down, sometimes I don’t always get them all on paper in time!

    Thanks again, looking forward to the next breakfast!


  • Okay, just some more that were mentioned and people might want to check out:

    Trender, Radian6, Comscore,, Twitterholic, siteVOLUME, websitgrader, bloggrader, Twitter Search, google alerts, and google analytics

    Google has a free online tutorial on how to use google analytics

    In addition, just want to send you all to a site which says it has an Excel spreadsheet you can use for calculating ROI. Here is the URL:


  • Great post Gini! I have to agree with you I am really enjoying! In regards to how is it more accurate then It seems you get a lot more data from… Thoughts?

  • Hi Alan!

    We mesh our URL shortener against our Google analytics. is more accurate to actual traffic driven to the blog than is. It still picks up the spiders, but it shows more actual people.

    We also like it because of its relationship to StumbleUpon, because it will give you times of each day that you’re RT’d the most (which is great for strategy), and because you can post for later.

    If I could marry it, I would.

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