Determining ROI on Social Media Strategy Investments
At first glance, it looks like most companies online have some form of social media strategy, but that is not necessarily the case. Many businesses do not get engage on social platforms because they do not fully understand the strategy behind the efforts or the benefit of such as investment. Those companies that are very involved have a strategic marketing and communications plan in place that includes goals and objectives, content calendars, measurement techniques and more, see the true value of what social media can do.
Many companies are guilty of creating Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts with absolutely no plan to how the platform will be leveraged. In those cases, it is recommended to not even create a presence on those social sites until a commitment to investing in those programs is made. Currently, there is no real metric in determining ROI on social media efforts, but that would the selling point to those wavering on investing in online engagement.
For email marketing, pay-per-click campaigns and search engine optimization, the ROI has been measurable for a long time. The problem in determining ROI for social media is that it is qualitative. Numerically measuring human interactions and conversations is a science, and more often than not, are not quantifiable. An E-marketer's 2011 survey shows that social media is gaining trust and traction amongst marketing managers, even though it is hard to peg down an ROI.
According to E-Marketer, social media engagement is often measured in the following ways:
Professionals in the industry consider other values for social media ROI such as increased brand interaction and consumer trust as these leads eventually convert into sales. As such, creating a compelling case to have a company properly engage on specific social media platforms can be difficult. Marketing professionals have to act as ambassadors and educate those allocating funds on the importance of online engagement. The conversations, guidance and relationships that can be cultivated from an online presence are too valuable to pass over. An investment in social media requires a shift in thinking about the bottom line to considering, what can be learned from our interacting directly with customers.
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