Trying to calculate success on social media* is similar to trying to
determine if your joke will be funny amongst the group. To then determine
if the time and money you put into the joke was worth the laughs, that is
equivalent to calculating the Return on Investment (ROI) of your efforts
on social media.
I mean sure, a couple of people chuckled and you got a few thumbs up from
your friends, but are you really going to pick up stumps after a
lacklustre response and go find a better group to socialise with? One
that will laugh really hard at ALL your jokes?
Yes, reviewing the analytics of your social media efforts is a valuable
exercise, as it allows you to identify the level of interaction you have
with your audience and adjust it accordingly with the aim to hopefully
increase your level of interaction (and as all honest social media
managers will agree with, we mean hopefully). But to expect a set level
of financial return from your social interaction is lunacy. It's
basically saying that the only reason you are there is to make money,
which, if you said directly to your social media audience, would cause
them to instantly unlike and unfollow you, guaranteeing that your social
media ROI is now zero.
For a small business, being on social media is like giving good customer
service. You don't have to do it, but doing so creates a special
connection with some of your customers who then go on to speak good
things about you. A positive result that isn't achieving great returns,
but it is a better result than the alternative.
Another metaphor I could use is that social media presence is like
putting $5 in a savings account every week, or like planting the seed of
a fruit tree in the back yard. You aren't going to get any immediate
returns, instead, you're looking for future growth. And maybe 5 - 10
years down the track, after giving the tree enough nourishment to grow
and the right conditions to grow in, you'll be rewarded for your efforts
with plentiful fruit, just ripe for the picking. Or just as likely,
you'll find that you should have checked the soil first because apple
trees don't grow in clay you num-num.
Our advice has always been to get on social media, in the very least, on
the major platforms. Then, just maintain a presence that suits your
business, and suits you. Don't feel that you need to compete with the big
leagues. You don't need 10+ posts every day, posted at the optimal time
to get the most views. I mean, if you compare that to real-world social
dynamics, someone who feels the need to say something every few minutes
is regarded as an attention seeker, and in most social circles that is a
Think about how much you socialise in the real world, and how much your
customers socialise in the real world. Are you out every spare moment?
Catching up with friends, meeting new people, making new acquaintances?
Or do you only socialise now and then?
Co-ordinate your social media presence with your real-world social
presence. Post as often as you would go out (I don't mean post at the
same time that you go out, just as often).
So throw away the short-term social media ROI targets. Invest as much
time as you can or want to into your social media socialising. Make it
natural, don't force it. The social media community will treat you the
same way you treat them.
And who knows, 5 - 10 years down the track, the compound interest on your
regular $5 deposits might hit the roof, and you find a pot of gold
waiting for you at the end of the social media rainbow.
*Author's Note: Allow me to clarify further. This
article has been written for small business readers in mind, who have
social media goals along the lines of establishing and growing an on-line
community. Their social media Return on Investment is measured in terms
of audience engagement and audience size.
If you are marketing and advertising on a larger scale than your
website/store-front window, then yes, you will likely have a need to
measure the effectiveness of single campaigns in your social media
channels against the campaigns in your other media channels.
You will need to determine how views and likes and favourites and
retweets compare to broadcasts and impressions and reach. You will then
need to create models that estimate how many likes and retweets converted
into direct sales, and compare it against how many television advert
views converted into direct sales. All this so you can then decide how
much the $$ you put into social media compared to the $$$$$$$$ you put
into advertising on traditional media channels.
Or you could just justify it like a company justifies spending $$ on
t-shirts, hats, mugs and keyrings to hand out at a conference. You'll
create a bit of brand awareness from the few people walking around with
your logo on their head or in their hands; and you might get two people
actually call you for work. Unless you were the life of the party, in
which case you may get 10 people call you and slightly more brand
If you really must know how valuable your social media efforts are in
terms of creating leads or sales, then journey onto our next article: How Much Is That Like
There In The Window?
Investing in social media is like investing in a lottery ticket. It may
pay off, and it may not. You can buy several tickets in all of the games
every week and still have average returns, and every now again you might
get a big win. It's true, you've gotta be in it to win it, just don't go
blowing your budget expecting to win big.
What Return on Investment do you set for social media?
Are you reaching it? Let's discuss on our iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.