>What is Your REAL ROI of Social Media? Part 4: The Wrap-Up

1 09 2010

>If you recall from the first post regarding this topic, we mentioned that social media can deliver valid results to your business but in order to validate your efforts within social media, you need to utilize a variety of strategies and set multiple goals.

First off, you need to gain a solid perspective around your existing business’s social media marketing metrics, goals, and targets. It’s imperative that you don’t try to assign financial value to non-financial metrics. Although you may be looking for results in the form of dollar amounts, it’s crucial to recognize the benefits that social media has on your business even if you’re not seeing a monetary return on your efforts. Sales are definitely an important metric but, when they’re not immediately available, proxies should not be used to turn a non-financial result into a financial one.

In two of our previous posts, we spoke about how you need to engage in a broad perspective when it comes to using social media for your business. We spoke of the four-point perspective, which included the following views: financial, brand, risk management, and digital. It’s important to know that you can’t rely on using just one or two perspectives. All four must be considered because, otherwise, you can’t properly assess your social media marketing strategies without taking into account the long-term value that both the brand and risk management perspectives offer.

Originally, social media cropped up and was used as a method of personal networking. It was only a matter of time until businesses would see the potential to use it as a promotional tool. Now that social media marketing is well out of the experimentation phase and a valid method of mainstream marketing, we must also alter our view of the contributions it has on the business world.

We need to consider the way we view social media. Obviously, keeping track of (returning) fans and retweets of your posts is a good measurement of the outcome of using social media. But a true measurement will come from considering all of social media’s business outcomes.

With traditional marketing tools, many investments were not made to garner immediate financial results. Just like your strategies then, sometimes you need to make an investment to promote long-term brand health which will, in turn, encourage a growth in sales and your ROI. That’s the beauty of social media marketing—it has the ability to start off with short-term results and morph into something completely different that will support your business’s long-term health.

Not every social media route needs to deliver a financial outcome. Many companies invest in web design, branding redesigns, and social media in order to keep up with, or stay ahead of, the competition. It’s also a good practice to keep up with customer expectations, which is who you’re trying to reach after all.

Using social media to promote your business and increase your total sales is an effective part of a solid marketing strategy. However, don’t let short-term financial goals detract from the long-term benefits that social media can have for your small business. Be sure to keep both financial and non-financial benefits to your business at the forefront of your mind.

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