Using Social ROI to Keep Your Strategy on Target

Imagine for a moment that you have a bow and arrow.

Now that you have that visual, please bear with me as I use it as a metaphor.

That bow represents the tools and resources we use to launch social campaigns. Without those tools, it would be very difficult to launch a campaign, so they are an essential component of a social strategy.

Now, imagine that the arrow is your campaign. By utilizing the bow (your tools and resources) you can now launch your arrows (campaigns). This ability to launch campaigns is pretty exciting and is where a majority of social marketers are today. They load up campaigns, launch them and watch them go.

However, most don’t know where they’re aiming. In fact, 58 percent of marketers can’t prove the business value of their social campaigns. Fifty-eight percent! They are figuratively launching campaigns left, right, up, down and all over the place, just hoping that they might hit a target. But without a sufficient means of measurement, they won’t know if they hit it.

When it comes to measurement, these marketers reactively measure where their campaign went. To get some kind of metric, they look at how far the arrow traveled (i.e., reach) or whom it may have hit along the way (e.g., followers).

But without knowing what their target was before launching and having a means for measuring it, they are missing a huge opportunity.

Set Your Target

The answer, then, seems pretty obvious: set up a target to hit and a means to measure it before you launch the campaign. This isn’t a new concept by any means, but it is something we often forget in the excitement (or pressure) to get a social campaign out the door.

Is your goal to build awareness? Then you’ll probably want to use metrics like reach, followers, and share of voice.

Is your goal to drive engagement? You’ll want to include metrics like click-throughs to your website, likes, comments and favorites.

Is your goal to drive leads? Think about how you will track any clicks from social media back to your marketing automation or CRM system so you can give credit to your social campaigns. A great way to do this is to use UTM parameters in your URLs and pull those values into your marketing automation system. Nothing too fancy, but it’s effective.

Is your goal to drive sales? Again, track any clicks from social, but make sure that information is saved throughout the sales process.

Now you can aim your campaign at your target, pull back your bow, and let it fly.

Flink! Swoosh! Thump!

Your campaign has now hit your target, and since you know how and what you’re measuring, you can see how close you got to the bulls-eye.

Congratulations, you’re at the place that 58 percent of marketers are striving to get to. Nice.

But Wait! There’s More!

Social ROI isn’t something you should just measure at the end of a campaign.

Let’s go back to launching the campaign. When we pull back the bow and launch the campaign, we don’t have to sit back and wait for it to hit the target out in the distance to see how effective it was. Instead, we can take snapshots of where the campaign is in near real time as it’s flying through the air.

Measuring a campaign as it unfolds allows you to adjust that campaign mid-flight. We have the ability to determine well ahead of time if a campaign is going to miss its mark and make adjustments to put it back on target.

Using Real-time Social ROI to Course Correct

Here’s an example of Social ROI in action. Mia’s Pizzeria is having a social promotion for a big football game. The plan is to give a different discount offer for each quarter of the game:

  • First quarter – Free delivery
  • Second quarter – Buy one pizza, get one free
  • Third quarter – Free wings
  • Fourth quarter – Free dessert pizza

Each of these offers is tied to a coupon code that people will use when ordering online. Mia’s Pizzeria is actively monitoring how many sales are going to be associated with each promotion. They also have a sales goal for the promotion.

After the first quarter promotion of free delivery, they are off to a good start—about 1/4 of their way to their goal. Things are on track.

After the second quarter, something surprising happened. The buy one, get one (BOGO) offer went incredibly well. As a result, halfway into the campaign, they are 3/4 of the way to their goal. At halftime, armed with this information, Mia’s has a decision to make: either go onto the next promotion (free wings) or ride out the BOGO offer.

Based on its success, Mia’s decides to extend the BOGO offer to the third quarter. After the third quarter, Mia’s has surpassed its goal, and there’s still a quarter left of football. Again, it’s decision time. Mia’s can ride out the BOGO offer, or they can switch things up.

Had Mia’s not been tracking their social ROI quarter by quarter, they would have ended the best part of the campaign early. And if the later offers wouldn’t have resonated with their audience, they could have missed their goal entirely. Instead, they measured social ROI in real-time, adjusted the campaign as it was mid-flight, and blew their goal out of the water.

Social ROI Isn’t Fire & Forget

Most marketers are missing the mark when it comes to social ROI. The minority can at least measure back to business objectives, which is a great first step. But the best marketers are those who measure social ROI in real time, make strategic business decisions based on that data and optimize campaigns before they go off track.


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