Steve Strauss: The ROI of your Social Media

Written by on March 4, 2013 in Business Guidance, Sales & Marketing - No comments
Small business branding

So after all of your blogging and tweeting and posting and sharing, you may be asking yourself: “Hmmm, is all of this social media stuff actually paying off for me and my business?” Good question, my friend. The problem with social media is that, while certainly a valuable and powerful tool for getting the word out, the results can also sometimes seem nebulous.

Let me suggest that here are are 5 ways to analyze the ROI of your social media to know if your efforts are paying off:

1. More relationships: The woman who opened my eyes to what social media really is explained that it is also called social networking for a reason. It’s not about the number of fans and followers you have (well, it is a little bit, see below), but rather about the new relationships you make. You see, the thing is, online you can meet people you wouldn’t normally meet and thus create business relationships you would not normally have. That equals growth.

2. Increased analytics: Consider this quote from the Mobile Marketing Association — they say that measuring the success of a new marketing campaign requires a new sort of analysis, which includes:

“The number of eyeballs and finger swipes. The number of blogs, articles, tweets and diggs. The number of acquisitions, conversions, calls, responses or purchases. Total basket size, consumer recall, loyalty and recommendations. Check-ins on foursquare and check-outs on Amazon.”

3. More traffic: Here is another quantifiable way to judge your results: An uptick in traffic. Of course, traffic can mean all sorts of things: It can be more people reading your blog, more hits on your website, more people shopping in your e-store, or more people coming into the physical store.

Here are a few ways to measure your online traffic:

  • Google Analytics: Analytics is the standard for tracking traffic, keywords, incoming links, sites, etc.
  • WordPress: If you use WordPress for your blog or site, there are a lot of plugins that can measure your numbers.
  • TweetMeme: If you have re-tweet button on your site, TweetMeme is very helpful.

4. Better brand awareness: Admittedly this is a little tougher to gauge, but gauge it you must because increased traffic and better analytics should translate into increased brand awareness. Check your Klout score. Do you have more fans and followers and LinkedIn requests? Are there more Google Alerts coming into your inbox?

Having a lot of fans and followers increases brand equity. Social networking, when done right, builds your brand.

5. More money: Here’s the bottom line question and analytic: Are you making more money? The real danger with social media is that it is very easy to get sucked into it, find yourself spending a lot of time with it because it’s fun and engrossing, and telling yourself that that is necessary, when really maybe it is not because it’s not paying off financially.

More money, that’s the true ROI barometer of social media.

About the Author

Steve Strauss is a senior small business columnist for USA Today and author of the best-selling book The Small Business Bible. He is also an expert and frequent speaker on small business issues and the trials and tribulations of the self-employed.

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