How do you get a solid R.O.I. (return on investment) on your company’s social media efforts? In short, you have to start getting away from the mindset of direct financial return while simultaneously understanding that tracking social media’s growth and customer results is the best thing you can do when you want to know returns. Once you can accept that, you, as a business owner, will be able to start seeing your social media thrive. Simply put, social media is about building branding and trust with your valued customers.
Here are the three things that mean you’re doing social media correctly to get returns in the first place.
1) People are actually enjoying the content you produce,
2) You’re using your social media platforms as an engaging customer service method when and if your customers want you to, and
3) Your social media numbers, no matter how slowly, are actually growing without the help of paid campaigns.
Don’t get us wrong, paid social media campaigns are a great way to assist your social pages. But the bottom line is that your page needs good content to survive without ads. Ads are a bonus, not a means to an end. Using sources such as Socialpilot to give your website banners and ads can certainly kick start or expand your page, but there better be something good there to begin with.
If those three simple tasks are being achieved to the best of your company’s abilities, you’re on your way to an ROI! Each of those steps has intricacies and practices that delve incredibly deep but those rules are a great starting point that will let you know how well your efforts are going.
One of the most powerful tools you have to judge how well your companies’ social media efforts are doing is to simply track the number of views and levels of engagement your posts are getting. This task can often be time-consuming and complicated; we recommend using helpful sites such as Hootsuite that do it for you so you can focus your efforts elsewhere. If a company promises you that your social media efforts will have a guaranteed amount of money in return, they are likely lying to you to make a quick sale. Avoid those types of firms or freelancers like the plague. They’ll almost certainly spell trouble for you. It’s all about views, likes, comments, retweets, shares, etc. that are coming from real people. That’s what counts!
Let’s say you’ve hired a full-time, in-house social media manager and their salary is $40,000 a year. Should you expect that employee to be directly making your company $40,000 a year on social media? Not necessarily – doing only that means you’re not understanding the branding and customer service aspects social media creates for your company – both of which can be tricky, if not impossible, to measure in dollar signs. If you’re a major company that has a highly sought-after product that you almost don’t even need to advertise, then the answer is likely yes. The employee should be making a decent return on your investment in them. Additionally, said employee should be able to present to you campaign codes they are sending out that are making money at exactly what times in relation to what posts.
But, simply put, most companies do not have the built in social media network that would see a direct return of investment. Therefore, it’s important for you to make sure your social media manager, provided they are full time, is also working on related content projects as well. Assign them a tri-weekly blog that shows users an inside look at your business. Make them a customer service rep when your customers or clients have questions on Twitter. Have them be your go-to media guru when your company needs some new behind the-scenes photography, and more. Social media thrives from content creation and interaction.
There are still companies out there that think they shouldn’t be on social media due to a lack of return. When they cannot even see the connecting power social media has for businesses, how do you get an investment in the first place to even begin thinking about any kind of ROI? We’ll explain.
Social media returns your investment by connecting your business to real people.
Let’s say Example Company doesn’t think they need to be on social media. Your customers are going to be searching for Example Company online or searching for a related field. Your social sites often make page-one results of Google directly under your website! As you likely know, the more places you appear on with quality links and recent updates, the better for your profits. Creating great-looking social media sites that are frequently updated is a major addition to your business’s finances in the long run.
It is important to keep in mind that in order to see an ROI, you must consistently keep up with your social sites. If you’re a tiny company with a talented employee who has a talent for writing and studying the latest SM trends, allow them to frequently update your pages. If you are a small, medium or large company with healthy income, consider hiring a social media manager or firm from freelance-friendly sites such as Fiverr to run your social media. Nothing beats engaging, fresh and fun content representing your company on a daily (or almost daily) basis that is coming from an actual person. Once you have the right person for the job, expect to see plenty of branding return on your investment.
You need to choose the best candidate to run your social media platforms.
So, what’s the final answer? Can you set a solid ROI on your social media costs? Not really. With that being said, your company is going to be left behind the longer you avoid fully embracing social media. Take the plunge, admit that you’re not going to get a clear answer on social media’s ROI, and accept that making sure your business is properly represented on social media is important in a unique way that cannot be measured.