After attending Social Media Week Toronto‘s Social Media ROI: Myth or Reality? session, it was clear that measuring the development of a social media campaign can be different for everyone and everyone has a different opinion on it. One panelistnoted, social media ROI is like Sasquatch, everybody is looking and no one can find it. Another said social media ROI is like asking about the ROI of a toilet. It’s difficult to put a number on it but you wouldn’t want to live without it.
From this session, it was clear than you have to start with strong community development and management in order to start measuring results. Here are four ways to get there.
Listen to Conversations
Conversations are a valuable commodity and all brands should know the conversations happening about them. Some studies say that only 14% of consumers now trust brands while 78% trust the recommendations of others. That means the more people are speaking positively about your brand, the more it will affect your bottom line. Come to know the sentiment of those discussions and you’ll see how it affects your bottom line.
Trust is the almighty. Engage with your community about topics that interest them. If social media is a boat, you are the sail that steers the conversation. Don’t be the engine that relies on pure force. Put the interest of your community ahead of yours. You’ll see that ROI comes when that consumer realizes they only like to do business with people they know, like and trust.
Create Great Customer Experiences
You can gain trust by helping your community. The best customer stories begin with a problem and end with a sincere solution. Ensure that your brand has an honest commitment to the customer and you’ll see positive a return.
Know the Landscape
The reason ROI is difficult to measure is because social media doesn’t reside in a vacuum. It’s not always clear how leads are generated. Also, social media is often mixed in with marketing, advertising, public relations and communications metrics. So if social media influences a consumer’s decision to take a certain action, which channel the credit? You’ll see the ROI when that consumer returns to their social networks for more.
One thing to keep in mind when trying to measure the ROI of your ongoing social media campaign, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” – Einstein. Sometimes you have to dig deeper to find out how your social media efforts are affecting your bottom line objectives.
Do you see social media ROI as a myth or reality? To learn more about social media ROI, check out Radian6 latest ebook, ROI of Social Media: Myths, Truths and How to Measure. This post originally appeared on the Radian6 Social Strategy Blog where I contribute to the community engagement team.