Social Media ROI

by Vered DeLeeuw

Can you measure social media ROI? What are the success criteria for your social media efforts? And if you can’t measure success, aren’t you wasting your time engaging in social media?

These are the most important questions your social media expert needs to answer before you hire her.

Surprisingly, many social media marketers dislike the “ROI question” and refuse to answer it. In fact, Mashable recently reported that a whopping 84% of social media programs do not measure ROI. They asked readers to chime in, and looking at those reader comments was eye-opening. Lots of “social media is more than numbers” type replies.

But social media results can and should be backed up with hard numbers. I was delighted to find someone planning to openly discuss those numbers on the SIIA OnDemand conference website.

According to their presentation abstract, Jon Miller of Marketo and Kirk Crenshaw of Appirio are going to make a strong case for using social media, and especially blogging and micro blogging, to promote one’s business.

Miller and Crenshaw present a familiar dilemma, a dilemma that many of my clients share with me: “While everyone seems to be on Twitter and on Facebook these days, do I really need to be there too?”

These people are concerned about investing time and resources in a tool that’s no more than a temporary distraction – an over-hyped marketing tool that doesn’t really work in the long run. Indeed, many professionals are “convinced that this is all a huge waste of time and that we should stick to buying lists and running email campaigns.”

Miller and Crenshaw disagree. They report that over the past year, Appirio has found that social media, and especially blogs and Twitter, is an extremely valuable marketing tool and should definitely be added to companies’ marketing mix.

Crenshaw clearly states that “At Appirio the results have been eye-opening – ~20% of our web traffic comes from Twitter, 2nd biggest traffic day because of a combination of a blog post and Twitter, 1000+ registrations for a webinar and even a few honest-to-goodness leads.”

Social media is not a waste of time if it brings you targeted traffic. Make sure your social media expert is willing to discuss numbers, and set success criteria, before you hire them.

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