There are social media metrics, comprehensive reporting programs from Facebook Insights to Google Analytics, and lots of engagement on the networks, but there is only one real way to tell if you are making money.
After the results of a Chief Marketer 2012 Social Marketing Survey was released recently, this Chief Marketing Officer took on the single biggest obstacle that marketers were up in arms about: judging the ROI (return on investment) for social media.
How do we unlock the magic that reveals clear and telling ROI in the green?
You have to go back to traditional marketing and sales methods. The one rule to rule them all is this: do not market on social media networks without having a tangible way to track sales leads and conversions.
Yes, this can be hard for the small business owner that does not have the money to purchase and monitor dozens of 800 phone numbers and call centers. But consider this: as long as you have a cell phone or more than one phone line, you can at least use a Google Voice account [video below] to make a unique phone number for free and link it to one of your lines and track when this unique # is used for a social media exclusive marketing campaign.
If every phone number on your Facebook ads, pages, and posts goes back to a number you do not use for anything else, then you can see exactly how many people called about your services or products from Facebook.
If you only want to see the benefits of your entire online platform, then put the unique phone number on the web site, the LinkedIn account page, the Twitter page, and anywhere else you market digitally.
Another way to track closely your ROI for social media networks is to use coupons and giveaways (there are a number of free ones out there) that are exclusive to each place that you put it. Look and see who loves the 15% off and if they got an email coupon, or a Pinterest coupon.
In this CMO’s opinion you should not be spending time and money (and time is money) marketing in social networks if there is not a tangible way to discern how much profit the digital networks generated.
By R.J. Huneke
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