10 Ways To Get ROI From Social Media

Show Me The ROI Of Social Media

Implementing a social media strategy is not for everyone. How it typically goes down for most companies is the company owner (or one of their C-Suite members for larger corporations) attends a networking event or conference and hears how social media is the way of the future. They are told that if they aren’t using it they are behind. Without wanting to feel inadequate, they immediately decide they need to add it for their business (because making quick decisions is what they are great at!). They get their marketing team to create their profiles on several social networks who will in turn let some intern post any updates. 6 months down the road they will start to wonder why they aren’t making any money from this amazing tool?

Whenever resources are required, a company owner (or CEOs) first reaction is how they will get a return on investment (ROI). If you are working for a company, chances are they aren’t hiring you for your good looks. They are hiring you because YOU make the company money. Social media is looked at the same way, and if they hire people to do it, they want to make sure it is giving them a return on investment. While I tend to think of social media as a necessary expense (like your hydro bill or a customer service department), I understand that others don’t see it this way. When implemented properly, social media CAN make you money, but more often than not it should be thought of like buying a TV ad: you never know just what the ROI is from showing a TV ad each time. It is a long-term strategy that can pay off in the long run when implemented properly but by not being active you could be missing out on many money-making opportunities.

Here are 10 ways you can get an ROI from social media marketing:

1) Turn Customers Into Brand Advocates: Sometimes it is the little things in life that really matter. When a customer posts something good about your company on their social channels if you aren’t part of the conversation, you can’t jump in and thank them. While this may seem meaningless and a waste of time to some people, by creating a personal connection to your brand and letting your customers know you care about what they have to say, they are much more likely to use your product more often and continue sharing their experiences with their friends each time they do. Each time they share their experiences with their close friends, they are influencing them to use your product as well! This works best for restaurants and business where customers come back on a regular basis but can work for others too.

2) Improve Your SEO Efforts: It is no secret that having a presence on social media helps your search rankings. Links from many of the networks will get your content indexed much faster, give you some added link juice and give your content exposure for people to find and link to naturally. I understand many of the links from the networks are no-follow, but these still help. Just by having an account on these sites improves the chances of someone seeing your social accounts in the search results before seeing a negative review.

3) Keeps Your Business Front Of Mind – Each time you share a piece of content on your social networks you are reminding your customers that you still exist and to keep your business front of mind. This means that the next time they are wanting a product that you offer, they will think of your business first. Posting a social update just before the times when people are most likely to buy your product could greatly influence their decision to use your product over one of your competitors.

4) Offer A Coupon – Coupons are one of the best ways to track ROI on social media. By creating a promotion that you only share with your social networks, you can analyze your sales and redemption rates to decide if they have a direct impact on your sales. Keep these coupons or promotions to limited time offers (ie. if they come in that day) to see the quickest results.

5) Networking – While social media is great for building relationships with your current customer base, it can also open the door for networking with other businesses. Many business partnerships have been formulated through social media as it is an easy way to reach out to businesses with whom you want to work. You can create special deals that benefit both of your businesses, share info about your business to one another’s followings or work together on projects that benefit both you and your customers. Not only can you reach out to potential partners you can also reach out to events and charitable organizations around the city and find ways to get involved. In my experiences businesses that are on social media tend to like other businesses more when they are on social media too and are happy to give them a shout-out on these channels.

6) Blogger Outreach – Most good bloggers have a great following on social media. If you are going to have a blogger outreach program and not be active on social media you are missing out on an opportunity to grow your marketable customer list (your social profiles) from their followers. Sometimes the easiest way to connect with bloggers is on social media and by having people write about your business it will again help your search rankings.

7) Build A Marketable Customer List – The email inbox of many people is a scary place. Hundreds if not thousands of unread emails. If you are relying just on a mailing list, your emails could easily be one of them. The more channels you can attempt to reach out to your customers, the better your odds are of getting through to them. Many of your customers may not even know you have a mailing list (if you don’t that’s a whole other issue) and this is something you can encourage them to join through your social channels.

8) Conduct Research Surveys – Hiring a company to perform focus groups for your business is expensive. With a good social media following, you can reach out to your current and potential customers for FREE and ask them for ideas on how to make your business better. If you are thinking about launching a new product or service but aren’t sure how your customers will react, you can ask them for free, and get some good feedback in the process. This kind of research can save your company LOTS of money!

9) Turn Negative Experiences Into Positive Ones – If a customer has a bad experience with your business, there is a good chance they are going to share this on their social networks. Just yesterday I went to a restaurant called The Chickery. This was my 2nd attempt at going to this restaurant because on my first attempt they ran out of their rotisserie chicken (their most popular dish). Low and behold today they ran out again and I tweeted this:

Chickery

This post received over 12 replies, including replies from people with great social followings and a couple of food bloggers (people who could make a good impact on their business). When I made this post I had ZERO likelihood of ever returning to The Chickery. That was until a few hours later when I received this:

Chickery Reply

After receiving this I feel a little better about the restaurant and chalk this up to me just having bad luck on my visits. The point is, instead of me continuing to tell people about the issues I have had with their business, I am more likely to just keep these opinions to myself now.

10) Track Activity From Social Networks – Every time you post a link to your site from one of your social accounts, track the activity. This can be as simple as creating custom landing pages for content shared on your social channels to more complex goal tracking through a tool like Google Analytics. I don’t recommend that all your social updates be posts trying to sell something but if just 10% are you should be able to track what happens when you make these updates. This works best if you sell things through your website, but you can also track if someone joins your mailing list, uses a contact form or looks to see where you are located. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers how they found you when they do come to buy.

BONUS – Consider The Impact To Your Business By Not Having A Social Media Presence – If you still think there is no ROI in social media, let’s try another approach: Think what would happen if you weren’t there. Imagine if your competitors were all active on social media and keeping their businesses front of mind for people who might consider your business. If a customer complained about something that you could easily resolve and keep that customer but you couldn’t connect to them, would that bother you?

While this information gives you part of the picture, you really need to come up with a well executed social media plan. There is no predetermined formula for developing a social media plan for businesses as each business is unique with different needs. If you need help with developing a strategy for your company please don’t assign these responsibilities to an intern or someone with very little actual e-commerce experience. Your social channels are the face of your brand. What you really want is someone who has experience with SEO, analytics and at least a few years experience actually using social networks for business.

meprofileAbout Me: I, Graham Rowlands am the CEO of Beachrock Inc. and have worked online for the past 8 years in affiliate marketing. With a strong focus on SEO, I have ranked for some of the most competitive keywords online and have spent the last 3 years studying social media marketing for business. I currently offer consulting services for businesses looking to promote themselves better online. Simply contact me via email at graham@beachrock.com for more details.

4 Responses to 10 Ways To Get ROI From Social Media

  1. Like to collaborate with you in the future.

  2. Graham says:

    Thanks Adrian, I am always open to working with new people. Just send me an email 🙂

  3. Casandra says:

    Nice post Graham! There are a frightening number of companies looking for social media interns right now. I suppose they feel they need to jump in but haven’t put any thought into what there goals with social media are or how they are going to achieve them!

    • Graham says:

      Thanks for the comment Casandra! Yea, it definitely seems like what could be one of the most important parts of a business is never looked at the way it should be.

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