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Top 10 Metrics for Measuring Social Media Marketing ROI

October 12th, 2010

Posted by to Social Media Marketing

Feels good to be home! I just got back from a long speaking tour. First, I was in Nashville doing a keynote on social media for women Accountants and CPAs. Then, I was in Las Vegas for a keynote at the Direct Employers Conference. I spoke about social media for recruiters. After which, I spoke at the Conquer and Grow conference. It was the shortest presentation of my life – 10 minutes! Very TED like. But, I had a blast, and was forced to really sum up my points.

Above is my presentation. Below are the main points.

3 Things to Keep in Mind When Measuring Social Media Marketing Success -

1.) Measure Quantitatively and Qualitatively: The quantitative is the numbers part of the game. Website visitors, Twitter Followers, Facebook fans, etc. This makes for very pretty charts, and cool case studies. The qualitative is what can’t be measured by numbers. It is essentially what is being said about you and your brand. Reputation management, anyone?

2.) Keep in Mind the Non-Linear Benefits of Social Media Marketing: Small and medium sized businesses alike have the same power afforded to bigger businesses. How? R&D.  Research and Development was never this quick or streamlined. The feedback you can get from an online community when done correctly can be comparable to millions of dollars worth of “focus groups.”

3.) Build it Before Your Need it: Social media marketing is akin to storing a box of band-aids in your medicine cabinet. You don’t think about it all the time, but when you have a cut, they sure come in handy! Let’s say you run a restaurant, and one customer has a bad experience and blogs about it. That can really hurt! Unless, you have 10 other customers who also blogged about their great experience. Build the networks and invest in social media marketing BEFORE you need it.

Top 10 Ways to Measure Social Media Marketing (in 10 Minutes!)

1.) Sales – Your bottom line is one of your biggest indicators. In an era of multi-touch marketing (I heard about you from a friend, then saw your trade show booth, then stumbled upon your company on Twitter, and here I am), your sales shouldn’t be forgotten. But, remember, social media ROI isn’t visible instantly. It takes time. One of my favorite quotes comes from Jeff Bezos of Amazon. He said: “I always tell people, if we have a good quarter it’s because of the work we did three, four and five years ago. It’s not because we did a good job this quarter.” This is the KEY to social media marketing success.

2.) Higher Closing Ratios – If people trust your company; the chances are that they will move forward with you much more often than not. They will choose you over your competitors. Your closing ratio can tell you a lot about your marketing – not just your sales.

3.) Shorter Sales Cycle – The bigger the purchase, the longer the sales cycle. This is often true in the B2B world. A big part of the sales cycle is educating the prospect. And, as prospects get smarter, they do their own research. Social media should educate your prospects, making their decision easier. Measure your sales cycle. (Run a B2B business? I just did a video on b2b web marketing).

4.) Leads – This is perhaps the most obvious one. Are you getting more leads? Be sure to have a phone number and contact form easily accessible on your website.

5.) New Visitors – Are you attracting new people to your website? I talk about this as a key strategy in my book on social media. Not only should be strengthening relationships using social media marketing, ideally, you should be attracting an audience you couldn’t otherwise engage with as much ease.

6.) Brand Perception – What are people saying about you, your brand, your industry? Check it out http://www.SocialMention.com. How you are perceived can truly dictate the above.

7.) Lower Bounce Rate – This is what I call the sticky factor (much to our SEO department’s chagrin). They like to  call it your bounce rate, and it can be found using Google Analytics. This tells you how many initial visitors hit the back button to go to a different website versus delving deeper into yours. When visitors feel like your website is trusted and already have an introduction to you, the chances are they will stick around. It also signifies a higher quality of visitor.

8.) Site Specific Metrics – This is what most people measure, and there is a lot of controversy here. Is it quantity or quality? It is both actually. A quantity of quality Twitter Followers, Facebook Fans, and LinkedIn Connections are all viable metrics.

9.) Newsletter and Blog Subscribers – There are two types of conversions that happen online. The first is what people are familiar with – direct conversion to customers and clients. The second type of conversion is less well-known, but perhaps even more crucial. It is when someone turns into a consumer. They choose to consume your information. It is the first step towards becoming a customer or a client. I talk about this extensively in my book on social media as well. Measuring your consumers (e-zine and blog subscribers for example) is an excellent strategy.

10.) Good PR– Reporters like companies and individuals who are smart, authentic, and can strike a chord with the public. Social media makes it easy for reporters to find you. It makes it easier for you to showcase your company culture and personal brand. It allows you to build relationships with bloggers. Ignore this metric at your own peril.

What do you think? Do you have questions about how to measure the effectiveness of social media?

 

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  • Hi Shama

    This is a really great breakdown of the most important measurements of Social Media ROI. I’ve just launched a Social Media Bootcamp product where one workout is entirely dedicated to measuring your ROI.

    It’s good to see we had many similar points. I speak of measuring the tangible with the intangible – by the latter I mean reputation (as you speak to), credibility, authority, like-ability, satisfaction and more.

    At the end of the day though the most important thing to do before measuring anything is to have goals in place – otherwise what the heck are you measuring against!

    Natalie

  • I like what you have here, I just have a few questions. How are you measuring the ROI on sales and relating it to social media? Also with closing ratios, how is that measurement associated to social media?
    I say this assuming we are looking past the quantitative aspects of just web site referrals. From a qualitative point I would want to know “why” they continued on to the sale and potentially closing. Is it product related, or do they actually like the company based on an internal association of social things the company is tied to, e.g. Race for the Cure or something like that. Just some thoughts.

  • Hi!
    Great post, especially the Jeff Bezos quote. Very true, you need to make investments into the future to see results in the now!

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