Keeping an excellent social media presence is a task that requires a lot of effort and discipline for every company out there.
For marketers, knowing precisely what they’re getting from the social media presence is often a question mark. But this should never be like this.
An effective way to keep tabs of their work is by measuring the return of investment (ROI). Even though it sounds very abstract, in reality, the concept actually can be put as follows: the comparison between the efforts put in action and the results.
Depending on the strategy or the company, the efforts can be money, time, or other meaningful efforts the teams are putting in.
Marketers’ jobs are finished not after they’ve achieved their goals, but only they’ve proven the real value of their efforts. In a crisis, justifying budgets can prove particularly tricky. This is why keeping tabs of the ROI is more important than ever.
If you’re part of a digital marketing agency and you’re in charge of the strategy, implementation, and monitorization, then it’s time to see what it takes to provide a comprehensive social media ROI in times of crisis.
Let’s dive right in!
Social Media ROI in times of crisis
- What is social media ROI
- Generating sales and providing social media ROI is a social media bottleneck
- Why do brands need to measure social media ROI
- How to improve social media ROI in times of crisis
Generally speaking, ROI or „return on investment” is the profit a company is making from an activity for a particular period compared with the amount invested in it.
To be more specific, ROI is part of a broader account; a company is keeping to mark down all the benefits it is having after the efforts invested in managing different platforms.
This includes setting up strategies, implementing them, creating content, and monitoring. Most of the companies perceive ROI as a non-monetary value. But ROI is different for every business, depending on its objectives.
There are many ways to calculate ROI, but the most acceptable one is this formula:
Profit / Investment x 100 = social media ROI %
Profit – the money made from social media marketing efforts
Investment – the total cost of your social media marketing efforts
As simple as it may appear, ROI is not easy to measure. Converting followers or people who engage on social media platforms into leads or customers is a hard thing to demonstrate, no matter how many customer service tips you apply.
We’ve conducted a survey to see what are the most difficult social media bottlenecks social media managers and practitioners are dealing with, and proving ROI is one of them.
According to our survey - generating sales and providing social media ROI is a struggle for 35% of respondents.
Moreover, the most common bottlenecks that social media experts are facing are social media traffic, communication with clients, content ideas, identifying the relevant metrics, sales and return on investment, monitoring campaigns and paid ads, reports, competitors, or finding the right social media platform.
After launching a campaign, clients want to see fast results. Sometimes this is possible, and sometimes it’s not. This is why transparency plays a significant role. Tell the client from the very beginning what are the tangible results in the short term and what can be done in the long term.
For new companies, acquiring leads can be a real struggle. People tend to buy less from companies they barely know. This is why building a strong awareness and gaining a name in the field with social media platforms’ help can be an effective way to start.
A power that social media has above all the other marketing tools is the power to engage with its audience through the channels.
A quick response to an active follower can turn him from a fan to a user of the product or the service and can be just the missing point to convince him of the authenticity and the effort your brand is putting into satisfying customers.
Another great way to engage with potential customers is via Instagram stories. With all the features, Instagram can be the final frontier to build a strong community.
On social media, campaigns have different purposes, and not all are converting into leads. Some of them can aim to increase website traffic, other to improve overall brand engagement or to build awareness or a community, and some target sales or attracting leads.
If you want to be perceived by a credible agency by your clients, show them the data and the proof of your work.
Here are the main reasons why you should be monitoring your ROI:
- Prove that social media marketing is effective - You want to showcase that this type of marketing is having an impact on the overall company’s performance;
- Demonstrate the value of your efforts - Some voices claim social media is not efficient to gain leads. Prove them wrong by showing the data.
- Be transparent - Accountability is desirable when dealing with budgets and companies’ reputation. Make sure you lay out all the costs and the way you are spending both your money and you’re allocating time;
- Identify the best practices and acknowledge the less efficient ones - Keeping track of all the campaigns, continually monitoring and comparing results can give you a general idea of what’s working best and want you might change or adjust. Just make sure this is understood by the client as well;
- Better understand your audience - Data can prove to be efficient when getting to know your audience a little more. Because you are continually monitoring, you can see if there are some changes in terms of followers;
- Spend money wisely - This is particularly important when explaining that the money you’re receiving is meeting the requirements the client is asking.
Proving ROI is hard in normal circumstances, but during a crisis, when all the marketing budgets are lower, this might seem like an impossible task.
But not if you have a clear strategy and a proactive attitude when it comes to explaining to your client the data you've gathered.
Be prepared to create new strategies for the crisis period and make a medium and a long term plan. Also, don't forget the power of data to back up what you're advocating.
Here are a few steps you can make to improve your social media ROI during a crisis:
Plan in advance the metrics and the types of results you’re hoping for
If you want to succeed in your campaign, plan in advance which are the metrics you are going to look at and align the objectives with the company's objectives.
To see if you've made the right choice, benchmark them against the market and compare them with your competitors' metrics. This way, you'll make sure you're stepping on known paths and you won't make huge mistakes.
Find which are the most relevant metrics using a specialized analytics and benchmarking tool.
Shane Barker (Digital Strategist, Brand & Influencer Consultant)
Shane: The choice of KPIs depends on what matters the most to your business. It means mapping out the KPIs to focus on your social media goals.
- If you want to boost sales, some of the metrics you can track are site traffic, daily sales, and conversion rates.
- If you need to grow site traffic, then the KPIs could be traffic sources, social shares, click- through rates, page views per visit, and bounce rates
- If you need to measure conversions, some of the KPIs to consider include conversion rate, click-through rate, bounce rates, cost per click, and social media conversion rates.
When choosing them, you should be able to answer these questions:
- Does this help in achieving my objective?
- How hard is it to track them and compare them with former results?
- Does it help me to make decisions (what to do more or less)?
Set clear goals
Without having a general goal in mind, you'll wander in the dark hoping for the best. Of course, hope is good, but you have to be extra prepared to face reality.
The most common goals companies or social media agencies set for their brand's campaigns are:
- Email sign ups
- Contact form inquiries
- Downloads of the materials
To make the ROI more accurate, always set your goals based on defined actions. If someone comments on one of your posts saying they are definitely using your product or service, track their activity to see if they really closed the transaction.
This is an excellent example to showcase to your client.
A common feature of all the above goals is that they are trackable. The most efficient way to track the results is by using a social media analytics app that will show you clear results of your efforts.
Improve the revenue with the help of social media optimization
This means the money and the efforts should be directed in those areas in which you can obtain the best results and keep the company happy about the efficiency of the efforts.
During a crisis, when it comes to the best platform to post, choose the one which will bring you the wanted results in a short period, not in the long term. You’ll make sure the budget is used wisely, and you can easily keep track of your objectives.
Publish your content when your audiences are online and most likely to respond because you’ll be able to expand your chances of raising engagement, interactions and you’ll make the most out of the resources you’ve invested.
Always, but always, look at your competitors to see how they have performed in similar circumstances and see what the best practices are. Of course, adapt them to your specific objectives.
Include extensive reports and wrap it up in an overview one
Keeping a monthly report will be a very good indication of our performance over time.
During a crisis, no matter the circumstances, you’ll be able to demonstrate what’s the status at its beginning, how you’ve performed during it, and what are the outcomes at the end of the crisis.
Try to create the best reports and give insightful information to your clients by:
- comparing different platforms’ performances and showcase the one that brought the best results;
- choosing the metrics which are aligned with the company’s objectives (that implies an in-depth understanding of the niche and the client);
- present the data that covers a period enough to demonstrate the impact of your actions;
- instead of showing just numbers, showcase the key insights, the ones that had a real impact on the campaign/campaigns during the crisis;
- presenting future tactics or strategy ideas based on your discoveries from the current situation or based on your extensive knowledge of the field.
ROI has proved to be an efficient tool that helps marketers all around the globe to be focused on specific goals, to measure their achievements, and to make sure the resources are distributed where they are needed the most.
What are your favorite methods to measure your social media ROI? Could you share them with us?