Four Metrics for Measuring Social ROI

Social ROI: The Quest of Creating Business Value Through Social Data Takes a Step UpSocial media is all about interactions. Those interactions leave traces in the form of consumers’ data, often defined by marketers as “priceless” in terms of value. But is the quantity of data a strong enough KPI/metric to justify the time and resources companies dedicate to their social media efforts? As Mai described in her last blog post, the tremendous amounts of data can sometimes be overwhelming, causing brands to fail in their attempts to transform it into meaningful business insights. Moreover, even though brands’ growing participation in social media already has been a tendency for the last couple of years, a universal formula to translate the outcome of the time and resources invested into the language of a standard marketing monetization perspective has not yet been invented. The confusion on social ROI might remain the same unless social media professionals stop trying to evaluate their online efforts the same way they measure the success of their other marketing activities.

First and most importantly, a very significant notion for brands is that they must start viewing social media ROI metrics as a list of intangibles that have the potential to deliver way more value rather than simple “return on sales” type of tangible measurements. This means that instead of evaluating their social media efforts by analyzing quantities (numbers of “likes”, “fans”, “followers”,”pinners” etc.), brands should focus more on qualitative metrics which are open to adjustments and improvements over time. Following are four of those metrics for measuring social media ROI, which we see as of great importance.

 

1. Brand Awareness
Brand awareness relates to how a brand’s exposure throughout different social media platforms leads to a significant increase in the number of people recognizing the brand’s identity and attached attributes (logo, colors, slogan etc.). That metric is usually associated with standard quantitative measurements (number of “likes”, “followers” etc.), but a deeper analysis will provide marketers with more valuable business insights.

Using Google Analytics to track down the number of users who, referred by social media channels, visited the brand’s official website, will outline which channels are beneficial as traffic boosters that have the potential of leading to increased sales. Additionally, analyzing real-time social media sentiment, by using social media management systems to track down all mentions of the brand’s name, will provide insights on the brand’s reputation and how its name is being perceived. That is one of the greatest opportunities of social media – marketers can obtain “first hand” information if customers are talking about the brand in an either positive or negative way.

 

2. Reach & Engagement
An important metric to measure is the levels of reach and engagement. Marketers should define KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) related to conversations, re-shares, recommendations and reviews etc. That metrics’ value lies in the possibility of real-time content analysis and its influence. Using a set of social media management systems, such as Falcon Social, to measure the levels of reach and engagement, brands can easily observe which content performs best and thereby adjust and improve their future strategies.

Moreover, analyzing conversation rates leads to a faster identification of potential influencers and brand ambassadors. Building a strong relationship between the brand and its most loyal customers cannot only lead to further expansion of awareness, due to peer-to-peer recommendations and positive reviews, inspired by influencers’ motivation to speak for and defend the brand. It can also open doors for crowdsourcing: the next metric in our list.

 

3. Crowdsourcing
Another very important metric of social media ROI is the percentage of cut costs from companies’ R&D (Research and Development) and Innovation activities due to crowdsourcing. A strong relationship built between the brand and its most loyal fans and followers via diverse social media channels assures that brands are no longer obliged to rely only on their R&D and Innovation teams for the creation and improvement of their products/services. Their most loyal social media followers will be happy to get involved in those processes basically for free, led by their true likelihood of the brand in general and psychological need to take part in creation processes. Furthermore, it’s not only the cut of costs; another important KPI is the amount of ideas on top of the pipeline: the more generators, the larger scope of suggestions.

 

4. Business intelligence
This metric refers to measuring the effectiveness of a brand’s own social media activities in comparison to that of its competitors. Marketers can monitor the performance (reach, engagement rates, sentiment etc.) of their rival companies with help from social media analytic platforms, such as SocialBakers. Additionally, that comparison and positioning allow brands to evaluate and adjust their future strategies in order to optimize their sales.

 

Social media ROI will undoubtedly always remain of great importance for all industry-related professionals. Despite the many discussions that measurement of ROI is a hard task, we believe that brands, who truly believe in the power of social media, can follow the above-mentioned key metric points as guidelines for initiating their strategic KPIs and thereby secure successful ROI from their activities.

 

photo credit: Sean MacEntee via photopin cc

 

 

Clickbait: Information overload! How can brands cut-through all the noise?

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.11.34You won’t believe the hidden message in this blog post! Or rather – there isn’t one, I just wanted you to click through and read this. But bear with me – I’m about to suggest something incredibly controversial – a never-heard-before admission by a social agency!*

As much as clickbait is the emotional catnip of our online experience and can drive consistent traffic for publishers like The Daily Mail and Huff Post who churn out multiple stories each day, it’s still hugely annoying to discover you’ve been duped by an over-excited headline promising to give you all the feels. For brands, adopting the same practice can negatively affect perception and ultimately – sales. So how can brands cut through all the sensational copy and deliver successful results without falling prey to creating clickbait themselves? How do they beat them rather than join them?

 

Platform crackdown

In the early days of social, Facebook optimised content based on engagement, meaning that if users clicked on a piece of content, it received a higher ranking in newsfeeds. In 2014 Facebook took steps to try and crack down on those gaming this ranking using clickbait, and in February this year it introduced an update based not just on what users engaged with in their feed, but what they wanted to see. Facebook’s advice is that Pages should avoid encouraging people to take action (such as encouraging lots of clicks), because this will likely only cause temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time – meaning the latest ranking favours content that users naturally engage with rather than content that users click on through coercion.

 

Last month Instagram followed suit and announced it would alter user’s feeds to optimise the content users “care about the most”, and Twitter has also adopted a similar change (although users can opt-out and revert back to the chronological feed). The changes will hopefully make it harder for clickbaiters to game feeds with meaningless content, but the real aim for the platforms hosting is to surface more engaging content more frequently so users return often and stay longer.

 

The same goes for brands on social. If the content they produce is consistently engaging, then users will interact more frequently, leading others to discover it through preferred ranking. Ultimately, these new newsfeed algorithms exist to generate more meaningful engagement, driving not just clicks, but conversations via comments, and shares.

 

Learn and adapt

Meaningful engagement begins with relevant content that creates value for the user and the brand. While an insight-driven content strategy is key to delivering this, brands should also adapt stories and messages based on the emotional needs and behavior of their audience. This is more than just a case of ‘test and learn’ or refining what has already been done. Brands must also evolve their approach in line with new behaviors, platforms, competitors and rankings or risk being left behind by those who do.

 

A good example of a brand that does this well is Buzzfeed, who’s CEO recently shared their new strategic thinking, revealing how their objective has changed from getting users to click through to their main site to view stories, to allowing content to be consumed directly on other platforms. The new direction was prompted by analysing which content generated clicks and discovering that users prefer to consume some types of content within the platform they are already on. The company also found a discernable difference between user interactions with the same content on different platforms, demonstrating how content demand and consumption vary across sites. What spreads like wildfire on Facebook might fail miserably elsewhere.

 

Relevance is key

For brands looking to use social content to drive click-through to their site, it’s important to balance the goal of the company (clicks to eyeballs, or conversions to sales, for example) with the desire and behavior of users on different sites, and monitor response over time. Relevance is key to interaction, and brands that think like publishers will know that relevance is an ever-changing chameleon. While users are bombarded with meaningless clickbait, there is ample opportunity for brands to channel the social zeitgeist by delivering valuable content that meets audience needs in the format, time and platform that suits them. If they get this right, they won’t need clickbait.

 

At Mindjumpers we help companies and brands to think as publishers and provide end-to-end social media management across multiple markets, encompassing full social strategy, planned and reactive content creation, analysis and reporting.

 

If you’d like to find out more please get in touch.

 

*Don’t be naughty and scroll to the last paragraph – I’ve hidden the controversial part somewhere to optimize your dwell time in finding it!