As the organizations are gradually realizing the importance of social media, they are also increasing the budgets allocated for the same. But increasing budget also means that the marketers cannot do it casually. They must deliver visible and quantifiable results. This is exactly where the question of return of investment comes.
So, how to measure ROI and how to enhance it?
The latter will surely depend on your own creativity and skills but before that you need to get a clearer picture through analytics. Google analytics is of course a good free tool used by everyone. Even Facebook and Twitter offer their own analytics nowadays. It can tell you the amount of traffic generated by your social channels. But for better planning you will need to know more. So, here are a few additional tools to measure your social ROI and enhance the same. Most of them have free to use features with some advanced paid options.
An ideal combination should include a research tool and an execution tool that comes with analytics.
Hootsuite, as we know, is the best tool to schedule your social media posts. It allows you to schedule posts for FB, Twitter and Google plus. If you have large social operations with several accounts and channels to take care of, Hootsuite can save a lot of time for you. It may also reduce the manpower requirement by making everything manageable through one dashboard. Also, they mail you analytics reports every week with details of engagements of every post. The paid version of Hootsuite offers even more detailed analytics to the users.
Many organizations are using Hootsuite regularly. In an interesting case study done to check Hootsuite’s effectiveness, it was seen how the New York City Library established its social presence through it. As a huge traditional library, it was finding it hard to maintain an effective social presence. Its various sections and branches had more than 100 accounts. Hootsuite offered help to train its staff and established a common dashboard where several curators could simultaneously schedule posts. With increased and streamlined activity it managed to increase the Twitter follower count from 7000 to 90000 within a year.
Buffer is similar to Hootsuite in terms of scheduling posts for FB, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn. It also offers reasonable analytics and you can even connect it to Google Analytics by attaching UTM parameters to get a comprehensive idea of your social ROI. The analytics may not be as elaborate as Hootsuite but it scores by offering more detailed scheduling options and image posting abilities on Twitter.
Buffer cites the example of About.com in one of its case studies as how major brands use Buffer to boost social activity and enhance traffic. As a major content site, About.com is wholly dependent on the traffic it receives. Using Buffer it maintains separate publishing schedule for every social network, fine-tuning every post for maximum impact. Use of buffer browser extension and analytics helps everyone save 1-2 man hours every day and they admit to have doubled their social followings within a year of using Buffer.
The biggest problem with social media ROI is that it is near impossible to quantify. There are different social networks and each of them has different aspects to take care of. However, Klout does exactly the impossible. It gives you a cumulative score of your social activities. It measures your social influence using various criteria across all your social channels and gives you one simple score between 0-100. Higher the score, better your reputation is. If you enhance your activities, you can easily see an improvement of this score every week. Of course you cannot know everything from one score and there has been criticism for this model too but the number gives you some idea to start with. Businesses can also approach the influencers through Klout and pay to promote their products.
An interesting Klout success story is that of American Airlines which wanted to lift its brand image and drive up memberships for Admirals Club®, its new posh lounge. So, it simply offered one day free access to the club to passengers with Klout score of 55 or above. They had access to free Wi-Fi, complementary food, wine and other facilities while waiting for their flights. With such high Klout scores, these people surely were very active on social media and had a good following. The assumption turned out to be right as it catered to around 3700 such passengers who went ahead and Tweeted about the experience favourably, eventually reaching more than 88 million people at the end of the day!
Keyhole allows you to track you hashtags, not only in Twitter but also in Facebook and Instagram. You can get real time update for any hashtag through this tool. In case you are running a hashtag campaign, it is a very easy way to find out how the tag is doing. It shows you the number of posts using the said hashtag and tells you its reach. It shows you the most liked or retweeted posts on the topic too and so you can easily find out who the relevant influencers are. There is a limited 3 day sample plan that you can try for free but for the full benefits you have to go for a paid plan. More expensive plans come with extra services such as phone support and API access as well as a detailed view of the influencers.
It is a new and exciting service dealing with the latest trends. Sometimes it takes up projects on its own and offer interesting insights that others fail to notice. For instance during Starbucks’ Tweet-a-Coffee Campaign, it used its conversion tracking tool and found that more than $ 180,000 had been spent by the customers during this campaign. It came up with a very incisive analysis of the whole campaign with numbers to support and established it as a major player in the field.
It is the social version of Google Alerts. With the help of this tool you can instantly find out what one is saying about a certain topic. You also get to see who is saying it but more importantly it also gives you an idea about prevailing sentiment on the topic in the social network. You just have to create an alert and provide your criteria and keywords to it. So, you get an instant idea if your campaigns are working or not and can modify them accordingly. If you need a deeper analysis, you can download spreadsheet reports from the site too. Mention is not limited to English but supports as many as 42 languages.
One interesting Mention case study is that of ManPower Group. It used mention to keep track of the buzz around the company and many of its major executives who were pretty well known. The used the push notifications in a big way as through them they could get alerts in real time. They also used the statistics provided by Mention for further analysis. It has enabled them to get rid of third party social media agencies and they are using it directly to talk to clients or prospective clients who utter their name on any social network as the reaction time has been cut to less than half of what it used to be.
Agorapulse is an excellent tool for running various contests and activities on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. While everyone can do basic posting on such networks, features of Agorapulse can up the game and take your social marketing to the next level through cutting edge contests. On top of that, it gives you complete creative freedom to decide the look and feel of your activities and it has an extensive analytics report to tell you everything about every penny you spend with. Especially for Facebook it has many options for activities including photo contests, fan votes, sweepstakes, quiz, personality test and gift coupons et. And you can create custom tabs on your fan pages too. If you ever had a social media budget and want to beyond free tools, this is where you must start to make the most of your money. It is not a mere App; it is a full-fledged social CRM.
One can schedule posts, create campaigns and find analytics data through Agorapulse. Especially for Facebook, it is an all in one solution that is being used by everyone from McDonalds to Microsoft and from Virgin to Nivea. It is such a well thought out service that it takes care of the entire process. You can even sort and filter the people who engage with you according to their frequency and find out the influencers you need to focus on. On top of that, since are talking about social ROI, marketers will be glad to know that Agorapulse actually has one option to measure ROI directly. While viewing the analytics, one can attribute a monetary value to different types of fans segregated by certain attributes and then measure the value of your engagements.
All these tools have their own unique benefits. Ideally, for smooth operations, any marketer should opt for a combination of at least two different tools. An ideal combination should include a good research tool followed by a good execution tool that also comes with good analytics. For instance you can use Keyhole to research top hashtag trends and then launch contests using Agorapulse that will also give you detailed performance reports of the campaign as it goes live.
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