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THREE STRATEGIES TO MEASURING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ROI

When it comes to measuring your social media ROI, here are three strategies to keep in mind.

1. Change Your Perspective – Back in the day (let's say the 1990s), it was easy to launch a marketing campaign and measure the success via bottom-line growth. With social media marketing, it's a little different. Many advisors (understandably) struggle with grasping the benefits and potential returns of social media. With a little shift in perspective, however, the benefits and/or returns are hard to ignore.

Cost savings – Let me state the obvious: social media is cheap and in many cases free. By having stellar social media processes and operations, you will save your company or yourself a boatload of money that otherwise would be spent on costly marketing campaigns. Don't ignore this when examining benefits and returns.

For example, are you spending thousands of dollars each month with a public relations firm? I've had people say to me, “Gosh, we spend $10,000 per month on a part-time PR firm. How can social media not be a part of this? And for less!” With social media, you'll be able to cut back on costs by reaching out and contacting editors and reporters directly through Twitter and other social channels.

Search engine rankings – Google is the number-one search engine in the world and is an integral part of many people's day-to-day lives.

Think of social media as the vehicle to increased search engine rankings and, ultimately, worldwide exposure.

Cost avoidance – Whether you've accepted it or not, people are talking about your organization on social media. It's the new marketplace, the new bar where everyone goes to chat and spread the news. Whether or not you choose to participate in this conversation is up to you. I don't know about you, but if I knew people were talking about me in real life, I'd want to be there to save face. On social media, you have the power to not only listen in, but also monitor the conversations that are buzzing about your business. Just think–putting an end to one negative conversation may result in one new client that may have never looked twice before. See Figure 20.1.

Sales and revenue – Just because the bottom line is no longer the only measure of success doesn't mean it should be ignored. Continue to measure the relationship between your business' bottom line and your social media efforts.

Still shaking your head? According to WSJ Online, New Hampshire-based advisor Mark Scribner landed a $2.6 million 401(k) rollover account and a large insurance policy from a client's

Sharing on Social Media May Keep Clients Happy

FIGURE 20.1 Sharing on Social Media May Keep Clients Happy

boss by re-connecting on LinkedIn with an acquaintance he hadn't spoken to in 15 years.

Social capital – Social capital refers to the collective or economic benefits of knowing people. In other words, the more people you know, the more likely you are to gain referrals and prospects, get preferential treatment, and develop your celebrity, so to speak. When you take the time to let your audience know you care by listening and responding to what they say and providing thoughtful content, the relationships you are building begin to become invaluable. Show authenticity toward your current and prospective clients and get to know them, and they will no longer be just fans and followers, but brand evangelists. Over time, you will see these relationships benefit your bottom line.

2. Keep Track of the Seeds That Grow With KPI – Key performance indicators are the mediums through which your business assesses success. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of measuring your performance. You'll waste years of time and energy if you fail to do so. Here's how you can get started:

Create categories – Choose metrics that you can translate into business categories, such as sales, leads, customer satisfaction, customer interaction, and so on. Determine these categories based on the goals of your firm. For example, if you're seeking to increase referrals, use referrals as a unit of measurement.

Stop fixating on your likes – Define more than just attention metrics (number of followers, etc.). For financial professionals, it takes time to develop a large following. And, while it's great to have as many followers as possible, it's essential to expand your attention to other areas such as higher search engine rankings, follower engagement (likes, comments, shares), and weekly total reach.

KPIs for each social network – Each network is different. On Facebook you may measure your weekly total reach, whereas on YouTube you may measure the number of video views. Regardless, make sure you tailor KPIs to the specific network.

3. Check Out these Monitoring Gems – Listed below are links to some excellent free tools to help you gauge the performance of your social media marketing and outreach. The information and insights you obtain from these sources will be useful in all realms of your business.

Facebook Insights: Facebook Insights is a great tool to measure the impact of your posts, how many people are talking about your page, demographics, and your weekly total reach outside of your fanbase. You can access insights by logging into your business page and clicking on the admin panel.

Google Analytics (google.com/analytics): With Google Analytics, you can insert a line of code into your website and keep track of how people get to your site, how they navigate through it, and how long they stay.

YouTube channel stats (youtube.com/analytics): With YouTube's analytics, you can keep track of video views, demographics, playback locations, traffic sources, audience retention, subscribers, views and more.

Going Up! (goingup.com): This is another free web analytics package that helps you monitor traffic trends, SEO, keywords, and user profile data.

LinkedIn (linkedin.com): LinkedIn is not necessarily a monitoring tool, but it can provide good information about your connections. Use it to keep track of your competitors, industry trends, and hot discussions.

To sum it up, there really is no one universal understanding of success in the social media world. Rather, success depends on how you define it. Regardless of your goals, you must define success on a large scale (ROI), and then acquire small-scale key performance indicators. These indicators will help you analyze and evaluate how your social media presence and actions are doing, how you can improve, and most importantly, how your relationships are developing and growing.

 
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