ROI on Social Media Marketing

Return on investment is the great white whale of social media marketing. It’s mysterious, and both clients and their marketing companies are endlessly searching for it.
We’ve touched on the topic before, but think it deserves more attention. How do social media marketing companies ensure they provide value, and how do they communicate this to their clients? How do client businesses evaluate performance and hold their marketing company accountable? We’re going to tackle some of these very pertinent questions this month.

Setting Goals

At the outset of your social media marketing adventure, you should set two kinds of goals: concrete and global. Having at least one of both allows some flexibility while also accounting for social media marketing’s format. A concrete, metric-based goal will allow you to keep track of progress. This could be anything from making 100 new Facebook friends a month, to getting to 50 glowing customer reviews on Yelp, to increased attendance count at events advertised on social media.
At the same time, you should keep in mind that like traditional marketing, social media marketing also works towards some more general goals, such as increasing brand recognition, improving neighborhood (hyper-local) presence, and adding legitimacy to your business by giving you a modern edge (also, connecting you with the youngest generation of consumers doesn’t hurt).

Focus on Accountability

These global goals might not be measurable immediately. They never are, even with traditional paper advertising. What this means to you: don’t get discouraged if you’re not getting more people in the door the first few months on your social media marketing strategy. As long as your concrete goals are being met, this is a sign that the cogs are working out of sight and your brand is improving.
On the other hand, when it comes to the concrete goals, you hold your social media marketing company to their promises. During the initial consultation, they should have taken your bussiness type into account and set realistic concrete goals for your company.

Stay Focused, Stay Flexible

At the end of each month, your social media company should provide you with a report that outlines the progress being made. Every month these goals are not being met is an opportunity to work with them to figure out why the strategy fell short and how to reconfigure it for the future.
The key to social media success is to stay limber. Trends sometimes change week to week. Don’t worry, it isn’t your job to stay on top of them; your social media company will do that. It is however your job to keep them accountable to the goals you’ve set together. Even if nothing goes according to plan, after a few months of proper reconfiguration you should have new goals that track better and can be met by your monthly progress.
If at any stage of this process you are met with inflexibility from your marketing company, try to find out where the miscommunication is occuring. Most often, it will be with setting realistic concrete goals. However, if the problem persists, it might be a sign that the partneship is not a good fit.
Remember: when you need return on investment for social media, working with the right marketing company is important, but having accountability is absolutely crucial.
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