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Sherry Gray

Arguing the ROI of Social Media

Sherry Gray
Arguing the ROI of Social Media

Over the last ten years, marketing strategy underwent a drastic change thanks to the saturation of social media, smartphone and tablet technology, and refinements in semantic search. Marketing has evolved from delivering a high-pressure sales pitch to building a trust relationship between brands and customers. There's often no immediate result to point to on a growth chart.

That can be a problem for marketers. How do you prove your worth?

Selling the Objectives

One of marketing's most elusive challenges is defining goals for their social media efforts. It's a matter of framing the discussion in a way budget-conscious bean counters can relate to. So let's talk statistics.

Twitter alone has 288 million active monthly users...and 72% of them say they are more likely to buy from a brand they follow. If your mind isn't completely boggled already, consider this: 135,000 new twitter accounts are created every day. And yet 34% of marketers say they expect to spend less than 10% of their 2015 marketing budget on social media.

Given the numbers, it's reasonable to assume that increasing the number of active followers will result in an increase in sales...at some point in the future. It's a slow drip, not an instant solution. A reasonable starting goal, then, would be to increase followers by some percentage every month. Bear in mind, reach is exponential. The more followers you have and the higher your level of engagement, the more new followers you'll pick up naturally. You may have to adjust your goals as you grow.

Other, more nebulous goal include increasing brand awareness, building authority and trust. They may be hard to define, but you can evaluate level of engagement.

Analytics You Can Measure

There are several ways you can go about measuring your engagement. Embedded tools such as Twitter Analytics and Facebook Audience Insights provide an inside look at your followers, which can be incredibly helpful to ensure you're reaching the right audience.

Here's a list of popular tools for measuring social media analytics:

  • Google Analytics: Use GA to track website traffic, conversions, and mailing list opt-ins originating from social media shares.
  • Hootsuite: A suite of tools you can use to track your reach, growth, conversions and more.
  • Moz: See your website visits, mentions, interactions, SEO performance, traffic breakdown and more from a well-designed dashboard.
  • Buffer: Buffer is a suite of tools that helps you aggregate and automate your social media posts. For extra functionality, you can integrate with Google Analytics to track campaigns, follower growth and daily performance.
  • SEMrush: Deep competitive analysis give you a marketing edge you've never seen before. Search advertising trends, money spent by your competitors, keywords, search volume, organic position and much more. Find out how efficient your marketing efforts really are and where you might budget more wisely.
  • Rival IQ: Analyze multiple social media channels and compare your social performance against your competitors...including things like keywords where your competitors rank and you don't.

Keywords

The Cherry on Top

If your financial gurus are still skeptical, mention General Electric (GE). After their popularity took a dive in 2008 during the recession, GE took to social media...and enjoyed a roaring comeback. Using big data, they carefully reinforced their image through masterful social engagement with their core audience (that would be everybody).

CMO Beth Comstock says of content marketing, “we get 30 percent extra value for every dollar spent."

After that, you can drop the mic. Argument over. Social media wins.

Sherry Gray is a freelance content writer from Key West, FL, currently suffering the burbs of Orlando. She’s a science geek, a social media junkie and a unapologetic fan of all things bacon. Connect with her on Twitter.

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