Well, I was going to write a few more posts on measuring Social Media ROI, however Mashable beat me to it. So I have included a lot of useful information, and have only summarized or removed the sections that have already been covered in my previous posts “Taking the Guesswork Out of Measuring Social Media Marketing” and “Few Professionals Are Measuring Social Media ROI”.
ROI Reality Check
Oliver Blanchard’s Social Media ROI Presentation is a witty, fun introduction to ROI in terms of social media. If you’re confused about what ROI is (or rather, how it is measured), in the context of social media, check out his presentation (below), before you proceed with this post.
The Mashable article goes on to state the importance of setting a baseline and goals, which we have already covered in my previous posts.
Summary – look for traffic counts, # of comments, # of Twitter and Facebook fans, etc. Then determine HOW this traffic is engaging with your website. Are they converting to sales?
The remainder of this post has been kept pretty much in tact as there is a lot of useful information and links.
Mashable: Back in January, we did a round-up of 50+ Tools for Measuring Web Traffic. Here are some of our favorites and some additional social media related measuring options:
Google Analytics — It’s free and it can provide a really powerful baseline for a variety of different factors. You can track incoming links and then the activities of the users they send, which can be helpful.
Omniture — Omniture has a slew of services available for businesses, including components that track Facebook and Twitter metrics.
TweetMeme Analytics — This is useful if you use TweetMeme’s retweet buttons on your sites. It’s a lot like Google Analytics, but focused on TweetMeme.
PostRank Analytics — This suite of tools measures social engagement on other platforms and services. What’s nice about PostRank is that instead of just a raw number, you can actually see the messages and comments from other sites that contribute to your stats. This can be really important for sentiment analysis (more on that later).
HootSuite — HootSuite is a great Twitter manager but also offers impressive analytics. The nice thing about the click data you get from an app like HootSuite (or bit.ly) is by looking deeper you can more easily see if those clicks translate into transactions or impressions on your other sites.
Be sure to check out our post on Tracking Social Media Analytics for help with these tools and for the type of data you want to look for. Also check out some other reasons to use a URL shortener.
Having a metric for something like Twitter mentions is pretty meaningless if you don’t know if those mentions are positive or negative. This is where sentiment analysis is interesting. Sentiment is also a useful baseline to look at before implementing or changing a social media strategy and calculating your ROI.
We’ve written a lot about different sentiment analysis tools for Twitter and here are some highlights:
Viral Heat — Viral Heat is an affordable social media monitoring service that includes a sentiment breakdown for Twitter mentions.
Twendz — Twendz is a very basic real-time Twitter sentiments tool.
Tweet Feel — Tweet Feel is another real-time Twitter sentiments search-engine.
Crimson Hexagon — Crimson Hexagon is an Enterprise-level social media tracking tool. The algorithm they use for their VoxTrot Opinion Monitor is really impressive stuff, and will help you determine what consumer sentiment is toward your brand based on social media mentions.
Sentiment Metrics — Sentiment Metrics is another tool aimed at enterprises or larger businesses. We mentioned them in our round-up of reputation tracking tools last year.
Social Media Product Suites
These products can be extremely useful in measuring ROI on social networks but are primarily designed for bigger brands and corporations. Still, in terms of all-encompassing tool sets, these tools have the edge.
Vitrue SRM — We’ve covered the Twitter Pages component of Vitrue SRM (Social Relationship Manager) before, but the whole suite is really dedicated to managing and getting the most information out of your social media accounts. Vitrue does analytics for links posted on Twitter or Facebook and can also plug into third-party services like Omniture and Google Analytics. Vitrue SRM is basically a CMS for controlling and monitoring your Twitter and Facebook accounts.
ContextOptional — ContextOptional offers both a Social Reporting Dashboard for monitoring engagement and activity and a Social Moderation Console for Facebook.
Salesforce.com — Salesforce.com’s Service Cloud 2 line of products is really designed to integrate Twitter and Facebook results and pages directly into a company’s CRM. Although this isn’t ROI in the most clear-cut terms, by improving customer service and getting a handle on problems quickly, brands can save themselves from potentially costly mistakes. Those savings can be taken into account when computing your ROI.
Making the Data Usable
This is the hard part. After you have defined your baseline, you need to take the metrics from your monitoring tools and see how they correlate to higher sales, better customer retention, or whatever your primary markers for output are.
If your ultimate measurement is sales for instance, look at your sales level. If it has increased, look at the number of referrers on your e-commerce site (assuming you can track this data) from your website or Twitter or the number of coupons used that were given away in a Facebook campaign to start calculating which sales stemmed from your social media campaigns.
Do you see any trends? Is traffic up to your store after posting on Facebook? What about Twitter? Does store traffic correlate with more sales when evaluating that same data? Does a higher sentiment analysis on Twitter lead to more sales or more visits?
Finding trends and tracking them back to their point of origin is the key to measuring ROI.