Drumroll, please. We’ve made it through the countless ways we can measure a soft Return on Investment (ROI) for social media and we’re finally going to spill the beans on direct benefits.
Conversions. Hard sales numbers. The stuff that makes the majority of marketers quake in their boots!
Conversions and sales mean ACTION.
That can mean clicking a link, filling out a form, or (what we’re going to focus on today) adding to the bottom line through the purchasing of goods or services.
Ready to get started and rock your ROI?!
SMM ROI: Measuring Conversions & Sales
Let’s start with the 100-level stuff.
Social media only offers (or direct-response sales):
- Secret or Whisper Words: When placed on your social platform of choice, Fans and Followers know they can come into your brick and mortar business and say “SUPERSQUARED!” (example) to receive some sort of discount or promotion.
The drawback: Many facilities say they have problems with their front line staff keeping track of people who use the secret or whisper word.
The cool part: It’s FREE to do.
- QR Codes & Snap Tags: When placed on your social platform of choice, Fans and Followers who have a smart phone can snap the code/tag given to be taken to a custom URL where they’ll receive a discount, coupon or promotion. Depending on your company, the users can then make a discounted purchase online or can come to your actual location to redeem their “prize.”
The drawback: Again, many facilities say they have a hard time collecting or measuring exactly how many codes/tags are snapped and/or redeemed. Additionally, some marketers believe consumers don’t understand or aren’t aware enough to use QR & Snap Codes.
The cool part: You can measure both your click rate and your ROI with certain applications. It can also be a much quicker way to capture a potential customers’ attention.
- Coupons/Facebook-only Offers: While you can “pay to play” with Facebook Offers, you can always create and upload your own coupon as well. Fans and Followers can snag these and bring them to your online or brick and mortar business for redemption.
The drawback: With the clients I’ve personally worked with, both offers and coupons did not have a high redemption rate — even if they had a high claim rate. And, as mentioned above, many facilities had trouble with their staff collecting or noting all of the Offers or coupons that were used.
The cool part: One of the top reasons people “Like” a brand Page on Facebook is for special offers, so essentially you’re meeting the expectations of your audience by deploying this tactic.
Moving on past the easy and “common sense” marketing tactics, let’s dive into some other harder, more advanced, ways to measure direct sales on social media platforms.
- By using a next-step Call to Action (CTA) once a user is on your site (FB, Twitter, Website, etc.), you can measure how many users are entering information on a downloadable form, or squeeze box, to gain some sort of product (whitepaper, free gift, paid product at a discount, etc.)
- If you’re diligent about adding these new customers or potential customers to your social CRM tagged as a “social lead”, you can follow their buying patterns to prove a direct sales ROI
- *Note: Anything you can qualify as a successful conversion (as outlined in your goals or Key Performance Indicators [KPIs]) — newsletter sign up, blog subscription contact form submission, downloading of a product, contest entry, or sale — can be tracked by shrewd marketers
- Bonus: Try to assess whether leads coming from social media move through the sales funnel more quickly or more slowly than traditional leads. If you can show they purchase more quickly, you’ll be a social media HERO!
Adding to the bottom line is an obvious way to say you’ve procured a direct benefit by using social media.
But what if you’re able to SAVE your company money by utilizing social platforms?
Customer service is most notably where brands can save on costs (and add to the bottom line!).
Cost Savings Is ROI, Too!
- Most large brands understand there are costs associated with resolving complaints — and many do this through a call center.
To figure out your own costs, use this equation: Daily Support Costs / Average # of Issues Handled (daily) = Cost Per Resolving Issues
- Keep track of issues coming from social channels (like complaints or questions)
- Label issues coming from social media, as well as how long it takes to resolve the problem (when it was posted vs. when the resolution was posted/the person was contacted by phone or email)
- Compare traditional customer service issue timing (phone & email) with timing on social media platforms
- Use this formula for tracking time spent on fixing issues: Total Work Hours Fixing Issues (monthly) / Numer of Issues Fixed (monthly) = Average Resolution Time
- Once you’ve figured out your percentages for phone, email and social, see if social media is the fastest/easiest way to fix problems. If it is, you may be able to create cost savings for your company!
Lastly, and I won’t go into specifics here, there are contests and promotions you can run through third-party applications.
And. I’m. Spent. I realize not everyone measures ROI in the ways we’ve listed in this four-part series.
I also understand that not every social media professional feels the need to report ROI to their clients.
I simply wanted to address the multitude of reports out there saying it’s impossible to measure ROI. It’s not.
And the faster social media “experts” pick up on that, the better off they’ll be with success and winning new accounts.
ROI Equation (From Dude)
There you have it!
How will you measuring return on investment for your social media efforts? Let us know in the comments section below!
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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media management & advertising agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
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