Measuring ROI is the biggest social media challenge marketers face, according to a recent report from Simply Measured and TrustRadius. The top challenges varied little between small business, medium and enterprise, but developing a social media strategy is a more common challenge for small businesses than for enterprises, and securing enough internal resources is a more common problem for larger companies. The report was based on data from a survey of nearly 600 social media practitioners that was conducted in February and March 2015.
While fully recognizing the challenges and “mushy” metrics of social marketing, that doesn’t mean social teams get a pass on measurement and metrics. Everyone in the marketing ecosystem has to demonstrate value to the business, and social marketing is no exception. TopRight CEO Dave Sutton advocates for measurement that at least gives you directional guidance. “I may not have an exact ROI number for you, but I can tell you with 80%+ confidence that this social campaign drove this amount of new sales… Or I can tell you that it did not work and we should stop investing,” he says.
Key findings from the Trust Radius report include:
- Defining ROI is elusive.
Companies of all sizes and maturity levels are struggling to prove the value of their social programs. Social media activities can be difficult to quantify, and marketers are trapped between readily available “vanity metrics” such as likes and followers and difficult-to-measure objectives such as brand awareness.
- Social media goals are not yet integrated.
Social media goals are not wholly aligned with overall business goals. Furthermore, while marketers largely feel they effectively leverage social media data and analytics to optimize their marketing strategies, they don’t feel social media data impacts their company’s overall business strategy.
- Marketers need a better set of tools to manage and measure.
Marketers are using multiple sources of data and multiple technology products to manage and measure social media activities. Though they largely trust the data they get, they still aren’t able to interpret the data to show value, and many aren’t satisfied with their set of tools.
Does your own marketing organization face these challenges? Like many marketing efforts, ROI on social marketing is difficult because the initial work is not done to establish objectives and align tactics to the overall brand story and strategy. Taking a purposeful approach to social marketing will help you use social marketing effectively, and help you #StayTopRight on performance and audience engagement.