Article by WHSR Guest
This article was written by a guest contributor. The author's views below are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of WHSR.
How do you measure the value of intangible assets? And if you choose not to measure this value because measuring it proves difficult over and over again, is it really the right choice to only measure what’s tangible? Many business owners have asked themselves and others these same questions. What is to be measured and how? How do you determine the amount of money that is supposed to be invested into social media when you cannot accurately calculate the ROI?
The success is sometimes obvious, as is the case with a video everyone has heard of – Gangnam Style. Search Engine Journal published an article by Larry Kim which contains a great infographic with data that tells you everything about how this video became viral and what the current numbers surrounding this phenomenon are. However, more often than not it is quite tricky to measure success and with it, the ROI. This is why I decided to do some digging and to try to bring this entire story closer to your understanding.
The first question you need to ask yourselves even before you initiate a social media campaign is: “Why do I need a social media campaign?” Diving into this marketing venture with no clear idea as to why you are doing it and why your company needs it in the first place can be a big mistake because there is plenty of stuff which can be improved via social media, but to be successful, you need to pick those that are most important to you and that tailor a strategy accordingly.
Some of the things worth paying attention to are:
When you get a firm grasp of what is it that you want to achieve, you can then develop a strategy, the results of which shouldn’t be too difficult to measure. But here we come to the real question: What is it that one is supposed to measure here? The answer to this question depends on the goals you have set for your business in your strategy.
There has been some debating going on in reference to measuring social media results, since social media success is often something intangible that contributes to the development of intangible assets of a company and increases its Goodwill. So, Mr. Leon Benjamin developed a pretty useful Excel table to help others measure their Social Media success and he is the one who wrote about the whole intangible assets issue in measuring Social Media ROI on Quora and inspired me to include that aspect here.
Also, he spoke about a very important thing not all the marketers realize. One of the most important values of social media is its ability to bring you so close to your customers that you can know exactly what they need, what the demand on the market is for different already existing products, and whether there is a demand for the development of some new products.
If you are more of a numeric type, you can rely on measuring the number of followers, connections, mentions, tweets, re-tweets, likes, clicks, impressions or time spent on these activities, but here you need to be careful, because not all of your followers or friends on a social network will be actively engaged. People sometimes like something just because their friends like it, or because there is a contest going on. Not everything can be measured in this way.
Combining the measurement of both conversions and intangible social media benefits could be the right choice here. You can start by paying attention to how the size of your network relates to the quantity and the quality of the comments. If the size of your network is large enough, but you are not getting enough engagement – that can be one of the signs you are not doing everything right.
At one moment you need to go in deeper, and to try to focus on what’s important for your business objectives. If your only aim is to create a brand, you will focus on providing content which is more interesting and engaging. If you want to increase sales, you will try the same thing in combination with some discounts, for example.
To go into deeper analysis, you need to focus on:
Social media leads
This could tell you a lot about how much value social media brings to your business. If you get a lot of leads, such as content downloads or mailing list subscriptions, that is a good sign you are headed in the right direction.
It is important to know how much time people spent engaged with your content, what content attracts them most, which groups inside the target population are more engaged than others, and so on.
If you initiate a campaign to boost engagement or sales, you will need to track the results, and see if there is improvement. If the improvement is not as expected, things need to change.
Conversions by visitors coming from social media
If your aim is to boost sales using social media, this is the logical path to take.
Brand mentions in social media
This is more important if you are using social media primarily for brand promotion, but cannot be neglected in any case.
Social media is a dynamic environment full of challenges. The campaigns need to be dynamic too, so the first campaign is rarely a complete success. You’ve got a lot of experimenting to do before you find the best strategy. Social media marketing is one of the cheapest forms of marketing, and most businesses can afford some strategy fine-tuning.
So, if the results are not great at the beginning, do not think the battle is lost. Focus on adapting. There are always people who can help you decide which software to use for measuring your results or to give you tips about what to measure and how to deal with social media campaigns. Knowledge, patience and experimenting are the keywords here. Remember that.