Social Media ROI: 5 Steps to Social Media Success


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Whether you’re an early adopter or finally fell victim to the hype, there’s a moment after you’ve gotten on Twitter or set up your company’s Facebook page where you ask yourself, “now what?”

If you find yourself at that point, you may have already skipped a couple of essential steps to building a social media campaign that will grow your business or non-profit.

If you’re looking to create a sustainable, effective social media presence, then follow these five steps to social media marketing success.

1. Clarify Your Business Goals. Getting on Twitter is not a goal, it’s a tactic. What are your goals for the coming year? Is it to grow by 20%? Bring a new product to market? Increase donations to your non-profit? Without specific goals you’re shooting arrows in a fog.

2. Outline Your Strategies. Remember: strategies are the forest, tactics are the trees; when evaluating strategies think big picture.

If you’re trying to promote something, one strategy might be to get influencers talking about it. If you’re bringing a new product to market your strategy may be to educate people about why they need it, and what more expensive product or service it’s replacing. For a non-profit looking to increase donations, your strategy may be to tell stories that personalize the troubles your organization solves.

3. Determine Your Tactics. Here’s where you determine whether a Twitter account, Facebook Fan Page, or YouTube channel will be most effective.

One thing to keep in mind when prioritizing your social media campaigns is that you want to go where your audience is. B2B companies might get the most traction by getting involved in LinkedIn, either by joining appropriate groups, creating their own to attract new clients, or answering questions in the Answers section to establish their expertise. They may also choose to encourage their employees to get on LinkedIn and build out their profiles to give the company a wider reach.

Companies that have products that don’t necessarily scream for social media engagement might instead try creating valuable content. Performing a keyword analysis to determine what effective search terms might be, and creating blog posts, podcasts and videos around those phrases can be help increase online visibility, search engine ranking and drive more qualified leads to the Web site.

4. Plan Your Execution. Joining social media sites may be free, but social media does have a cost. Whether you hire an outside social media consultant or task one or more employees for the work, there is a cost.

Some questions to ask are:

  • Do you (and your staff) have the skills inhouse to launch an effective, sustained campaign?
  • How will you handle negative comments and feedback?
  • Which (or perhaps whether) employees can play in social media spaces on behalf of the company?
  • If you do hire a consultant, what will their role be? Will they tweet for you? Engage your fans on Facebook or forward leads to your sales team? Will they get you going, or will you enter into an ongoing engagement with them?

5. Measure Your Results. Social media is fairly new, and some hard numbers on its effectiveness–or even what to measure–are difficult to come by. Here are some suggestions on how you can measure the ROI on any social media campaign:

  • Don’t discount soft numbers. The number of followers you have on Twitter (especially in relation to how many people you follow on Twitter), the number of fans on Facebook, and your subscribers on YouTube are all “soft numbers.” None of these directly increases your revenues. However, they do represent “social proof.” Just like when someone steps out of a limo wearing a stylish tuxedo, there’s a certain amount of social proof that this person has “made it.” (And like that example, these numbers can be artificially influenced.)
  • Measure hard numbers.If you’re tasked with showing your boss that tweeting matters, you’re probably going to have to show her more than just the number of followers you have.

    If you get business or sales through your Web site, you can look at your traffic reports to see where your traffic is coming from. At flyte, most of our recent “referrers” are from blogs or social media sites. That means that our blogging and social media activity is directly increasing the qualified leads from our Web site.

    You can dig even deeper by setting up Google Analytic goals and measure whether or not this traffic is taking desired actions on your site, like completing a contact form or purchasing a product.

    By using URL-shorteners like you can easily track specific traffic to different campaigns to see whether it was your blog post, your online video or the link you posted to Twitter that brought in that big new client.

In Conclusion
When businesses hear stories about Blendtec’s viral video success, or Dell selling millions of dollars in product through Twitter, they assume social media is a get rich quick scheme, for better and worse.

However, for most of us, social media is an investment in our future success. It takes planning, hard work and a results-oriented focus to work. It doesn’t happen overnight, but rather like a snowball rolling downhill, it builds momentum over time.

If you need help or advice on creating your own social media campaign contact flyte new media today.

–Rich Brooks
President, flyte new media