Last week we went to the polls, asking; Are you happy with your current return on investment (ROI) for your time and money spent on your social media channels? The response was a resounding ‘No’ attracting 67% of responses with just 33% of respondents selecting ‘Yes’.
Social media ROI is often a point of confusion and contention for many businesses. Sceptics will say social media is a time and money sink with little return on investment. However, the key to taking control of social media ROI is setting your business up for success and having clear objectives about what goals your business would like to achieve. At the end of the day social media is not going to work for your business unless you work for the results.
Provided your business has already defined a social media strategy. Below are some of our suggestions on how to focus on and increase the ROI of your social media strategy:
1: Have a clear plan
Set your business up for success with a clear plan.
Firstly, define what level of investment is realistic for your business. Taking the time to consider how much is a suitable investment in social media. Without a clear allocation of time and budget, social media can quickly spiral and become unmanageable.
Next, define what is considered a return on this investment with clear, measurable and realistic objectives. To keep things simple, consider objectives in two buckets;
- Brand building
To get started, below are some suggested objectives. Taking a dive into the available analytics within social media platforms can also provide insight into what can be measured.
If your business is just beginning to build a presence on social media platforms brand building will be the main objective.
- Audience Growth (How many followers or likes is your business attracting)
- Engagement Growth (How many likes, comments and messages are being received)
- Reach (How far are your business’s posts going? This can be beyond your business’s following thanks to hashtags and sharing capabilities)
Once there is a foundation of rapport and engagement with your audience it’s possible to begin converting these followers.
- Link clicks (How many people are clicking links on your business’s post?)
- Profile action (How many people are taking actions -clicking your website, phone number, etc.) on your business’s profile
- Enquiries (How many enquiries are being received via messages?)
2: Regularly measure and compare results
Once your business has established a clear plan it is pivotal to measure how efforts are performing against the plan.
Measuring social media results is big business, there are many providers and platforms that will allow the tracking of results in one place. Starting out, setting up a measurement template within these platforms requires significant effort. We recommend keeping it simple initially and accessing analytics within the social media platforms.
The world of social media analytics can seem dry and uninteresting especially if data and numbers aren’t an area of interest for you. Thankfully, social media providers have developed their data to be user friendly and easy to understand.
Get an introduction to analytics with these handy guides on the major platforms:
- The Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Analytics
- Learn about your customers with Instagram Insights
- LinkedIn Analytics: The Complete Guide for Marketers
- How to use Twitter Analytics
It pays to set a regular schedule to review social media results. Best practise is to set a baseline; as it will be easier to compare between periods and measure how your business’s social media is performing.
A top tip for beginners is to make sure the time periods selected to measure line up with when analytics are available. For example, Instagram will only display insights from the past seven days. Analytics platforms such as Hootsuite offer longer time frames and therefore, offer more advanced measurement capabilities.
Regularly logging results and comparing them will prove to be a powerful tool in ensuring your business is measuring results and adjusting social media efforts to improve ROI.
3: Regularly update and adapt your business’s plan
One thing is certain with social media; things will change and fast! To keep up to date with changes it’s essential to continually evolve your business’s plan depending on performance. For example:
- If a certain type of content is gaining more attention from followers than others, make this type of content a priority when creating and developing new posts
- If your business’s audience has recently exponentially grown out of the blue, it is advisable to evaluate all your business’s marketing activities to identify what may be the cause of this change
- Did one of your business’s posts reach far beyond current audience numbers? Maybe it was because another popular account or hashtag with high engagement was mentioned?
Once the cause of results is analysed it’s possible to identify emerging patterns and adapt your business’s plan for success and increased ROI.
Achieving a return on investment for time and money spent on social media channels is no simple equation. However, if the value of your business’s social media investment is over generalised the unique opportunity to harness it to grow your business is lost. Social media is one of the rare aspects of the marketing mix that anyone can partake in. There is no cost in starting to post organically besides time and there is no lack of free online material that will help build confidence in this space.
Social media analytics can provide quite a lot of information to wade through to begin measuring ROI, which is where it can help to seek professional advice. Don’t be disillusioned by achieving ROI on your business’s social media activity. Get started today and use it to build your social media confidence and results. The Giraffes are right by your side every step of the way!