Investing in Social Media

More and more businesses are turning to social media as a marketing tool. While many people understand how the tools basically work, there are still a lot of questions about how to measure investments in social media. You can have hundreds of fans, a dozen tweets an hour and the savviest blog but not know the impact it has on your business.

Joining the conversation

Veterans of traditional media that have yet to be social are feeling pressure to join the digital bandwagon. They are skeptical of the seemingly low-costs but willing to give it a try because it seems easy enough. Many popular social networking sites are free, blogs can be streamlined into your website and those unpaid summer interns are often thought to be some of the best social networkers around.

What marketers are finding out is that there are real costs associated with social media efforts. While the upfront costs are low, abandonment is becoming too common. It takes dedicated manpower to keep social media running.

It also requires resourcefulness to analyze the benefits of various social media strategies. If businesses do not take the time to set up metrics before you jump into social media, they may abandoning social media simply because they don’t understand their ROI or how the manpower translates to profit.

Learning to evaluate

Whether you’re thinking about getting out, just getting started or a long-time pro, you need evaluate and reevaluate often. Measuring social media ROI doesn’t have a universal strategy but there are a few ways to begin evaluating. Then you can figure out what your focus should be and track the results.

Some places to start:

  1. Traffic
    Depending on your goals you can quantify a variety of instances including visits to your website, subscribers to your RSS feed or online sales. You can use tools like Google Analytics to measure the amount of traffic from social media sites. Targeted social media campaigns can help determine what your subscribers want.
  2. Fans/Followers and Interactions
    You can have thousands of followers but it’s important to look beyond the number of people who follow your brand. Take a look at what they are doing – are they responding to what you say by re-tweeting posts and commenting? See what gets the conversation started and what types of interactions are happening.
  3. Brand Awareness
    You tweet, you deliver true customer service, you network with people near and far, but what are people saying behind your back? Social media monitoring tools can help determine what’s being said about you. Check out some of our best practices for monitoring social media here.

We can help

Whether you’re ready to dive into the social media ocean or considering an escape, Parthenon can help you set-up, develop content, improve or evaluate your social media strategies. Feel free to contact us to learn more.