Social Media ROI: What’s the Point?

We all know we should be using social media to build our businesses, engage our customers, and increase our professional networks. A social media marketing plan should be an integral part of our traditional marketing plans. Using LinkedIn, Faceboo

k, Twitter, blogs, podcasts, and video is

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critical for reaching out to current and potential

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customers. But how do we determine how successful our social media programs are without measuring them? And how do we measure them?

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According to a survey

conducted by Mzinga and Babson Executive Education in August 2009, only 16% of professionals worldwide that are using social media are measuring their ROI (return on investment). That leaves 84% who are not – and they may be thinking that their programs aren’t working and social media is a passing fad. Business is all about the

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numbers – the bottom line – and if the numbers aren’t there, does the program actually work? Of course it does. It just depends on what your goals for social marketing are.

What are your goals? There are usually four main ones: increasing brand awareness by increasing visibility, improving your reputation by becoming an expert in your field, networking with others for personal and/or professional development, and networking to build mutually beneficial relationships. Of course, you can have one or more goal simultaneously.

What do you want to receive in return for your investment of time and money? What’s your

main goal? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you determine where to start measuring your results. And the results will help you adjust your marketing activities to maximize your time and money. You will know how to spend your time on the most “profitable” activities and reduce the time on those that are not.

Still reluctant to plan a social media strategy without solid numbers? Here is the female cream best explanation I have seen to date in this Mashable post by Christina Warren on How To Measure Social Media ROI. She gives excellent information on defining clear goals and using metric tools to determine ROI. The post also includes Oliver Blanchard’s Social Media ROI Presentation. It’s a witty, fun introduction to ROI.

Like it or hate it, social media has become an integral part of a business’s online success. Businesses have floundered and flourished because of it. Have you jumped on the bandwagon yet? If so, what’s your ROI?

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