Companies Still Struggle with Social Media Return on Investment (ROI)

It’s amazing to hear that with all the hype over the past couple years that a large number of companies have yet to measure social media return on investment.

Over half of executives in the food and drink industries do not measure the return on investment ROI they get from their use of social media, according to a just-food and just-drinks survey.

More than 54% of industry professionals said they did not monitor the ROI that their companies make on social media networks. A further 18% “did not know” if the business in which they worked measured the returns.

via Food and Beverage Industry Failing to Grasp Social Media Potential – PR Newswire – sacbee.com.

I understand that, like most marketing strategies, measuring results can be difficult.  Much like many forms of  advertising, it’s not always clear how customers come to finally do business with your company.  Was it an ad they saw?  Was it a combination of market touch points that built trust and credibility over time.  Was there a specific tipping point from a particular campaign that drove the sale?

At the bare minimum, it’s critical that companies outline the metrics that define success when measuring social media ROI.  Return may include awareness, familiarity, sales, leads, referrals, customer satisfaction and more.  At the end of the day, investment boils down to time and money.

What metrics are important for your business?  How can social media help move the needle?  Start with the end in mind and craft a social media strategy to help drive results toward these goals.  Don’t overcomplicate things by feeling obligated to track every single source of customer acquisition.  Analyze a significantly significant sample and draw intelligent conclusions.

Test a variety of social media tactics and track results closely to create a winning plan over time.  Measure these results against one another and against traditional forms of marketing.  Maybe social media isn’t worth the investment.  Maybe the lifetime value of customers is higher through direct mail or cold calling.  If you don’t measure, you’ll never know.

Social media is not a fad, so please don’t use that as an excuse not to measure.  Dedicate some time to map out your goals, identify your target market, identify the right tools to use and a process that minimizes strain on the organization.

One final thought – don’t expect immediate results.  Social media takes time.  You can definitely experience short-term, incremental success, but it’s important to consider the big picture and set expectations accordingly.

Any questions?  Good luck!

Please leave a comment below or on Twitter @steinarknutsen.

Thanks,
Steinar