Return on Investment
One of the first questions I’m asked when talking to a potential client is, “How do I know if what I’m investing in social media is worth it?” And let’s be clear – it is an investment; even if you’re doing it on your own, it takes a lot of your time and resources to do it right. You might even be spending money on social media advertising, boosting posts and creating ads. And if you’re outsourcing this task to someone else (please let it be me), then of course you want to know if you’re getting your money’s worth.
And that’s where things can get a little tricky.
Let’s Start from the Beginning.
Usually, when I begin working with a client, they have minimal to no current social media outreach which means we’re starting from scratch. And that’s great – it’s the perfect time to experiment, work on your company’s message, and begin to establish you as an expert in your field.
What we’re doing is developing your brand. We’re honing in on your message. We’re at the beginning stages of making people aware of you, your business, and what you’re bringing to the table. We’re establishing trust within your industry.
So, if I’m being honest, during your initial foray into the world of social media, sales are not at the forefront of my mind. I’m first trying to get you OUT THERE with a cohesive message.
And brand awareness is invaluable.
Going in the right direction.
In this digital age, I want your customer going to your website. I don’t care if you’re selling a product or offering a service, your website should be where your customer can get all the information they need to either prompt them to contact you or purchase your product.
This means that a well-thought-out, content-rich website is key to your success. We’re not going physically door-to-door anymore; social media is your knock, your website is your smile and your sales pitch.
So, your social media should do everything it can to get your customer to your website. In many cases this means you can’t just have a static site – you must constantly generate content that engages and, again, establishes you as an expert. These articles/blogs/posts are what we publish to get your customer to your site where they will, hopefully, read the content and want to know more.
And that’s when they contact you.
Now, keep in mind that the majority of my clients are service providers, so measuring success for that type of business is very different from advertising a tangible product. When you have merchandise, your ROI can be measured differently through specific ads or offers to figure out what is working, what is not, and where your customers are coming from. It could be a specific Facebook ad for a product or a special you put out in your monthly newsletter or email outreach.
As a service provider, things are a little different. Sure, you can offer a discount on services that you only advertise on Twitter and then you’ll know specifically who it’s reaching. But for the most part, you might notice an increase in volume, but not know exactly why or where it’s coming from. Sure, a customer might mention that they saw your Facebook ad, but it could be that you posted something on your business page that interested a reader who then shared it on their personal page where someone else picked it up.
And, truth be told, when it comes to measuring success…that’s really up to you. It’s important for you to determine your goals and keep them in mind as you’re posting OR make sure your social media professional (again, please let that be me) knows what they are.
- How much is one potential customer visit to your site worth?
- How does specific industry outreach benefit your business?
- Are you looking for mass outreach, or quality prospects?
These are just a few of the questions you should be asking yourself. And the answers will be – and should be – always changing. Just as your business grows, your goals shift a little. And your marketing should shift with it.
The truth is that there are thousands of articles out there that discuss social media ROI and each one is a little different. They might recommend software that measures different goals, traffic, and investment. Or they might make your head spin with different ways to define your success.
But, in my opinion, even the “experts” out there are still figuring out the impact social media has because there is no definite formula that says THIS + THIS = SUCCESS. Each business is individual and social media advertising is so different from, say, putting together a TV ad for the Superbowl; this coupled with the fact that social media is CONSTANTLY changing…many experts are still scratching their heads.
It’s about the right kind of volume. Consistency. Posting things that speak to your potential customer. Being honest about who you are as a company and building trust. Getting a potential customer’s attention and keeping it. Yes, this outreach should be tracked so that you know what’s working.
But YOU will be the ultimate assessor of your success.