With social media sites gaining momentum in the marketing sphere, the question is increasingly becoming “How do I measure ROI on social media sites?” This is an especially potent question for companies that have ventured into the Twitterverse.
Companies are beginning to learn how to monetize their efforts in social media and there are ample examples of how effective this can be. Take the Georgia Aquarium, which brought in $42,000 in sales through a combined Facebook, Twitter and MySpace campaign. The company offered 25% to 40% discounts on admission prices from February through May to people who became followers on Twitter or fans on Facebook or MySpace, which the Aquarium tracked through a URL created and used specifically for the promotion.
According to an informal poll done by MarketingProfs.com, 70% of respondents said their social media efforts are lacking and they cited several reasons. The majority of respondents claimed that the lack of dedicated resources to measure and analyze was their biggest obstacle in executing a successful social media campaign. Not knowing what to measure stumped 25% of the respondents. Twenty percent claimed that social media isn’t primarily about ROI and 14% said they lacked the tools necessary to be effective.
One of the biggest struggles in determining ROI, especially for Twitter, is that some mistakenly analyze solely the activity. Activity is important, but it is the added value that ultimately helps to determine your ROI on sites like Twitter. To determine value, you first have to define your goals.
You should ask yourself what is important to your overall strategies as well as your company’s bottom line. Having a million followers on Twitter is a nice goal, but shouldn’t be your main priority. What are your expectations? You need to set achievable and measurable goals such as increasing traffic to your blog. Perhaps you want to implement more campaigns via Twitter like giveaways. Maybe you want to increase the number of people that retweet your tweets or share your links. There are a myriad of tools to help you track your progress with these goals.
Given the extensive number of tools, you’ll want to drill down to the ones that give you exactly the type of information you’re looking for. Below is a short list of helpful tools that can help you track the success of your campaigns.
Bit.ly. If you are trying to increase traffic to your blog via Twitter, this URL shortener is a great way to track how many hits a link you have sent out on Twitter is getting. This tool also gives you the ability to assign custom names to the link so you can track specific traffic sources if you are posting the same link within multiple social media sites.
Hootsuite. This is a great tool for companies that may have multiple Twitter accounts. You can manage multiple accounts all at once and add columns to view what’s important to you. Columns allow you to view things like your sent tweets, people who @ mention you and direct messages. In addition, Hootsuite comes with its own URL shortener (Ow.ly) built in. This means you can also view statistics for any links you send out via Hootsuite.
TWITin. This tool provides multiple benefits for users. In addition to allowing users to mass follow, mass un-follow or mass reciprocate people on Twitter, it also allows you to perform specific searches. The search function allows you to search for specific terms within people’s profiles or within their tweets themselves. Finally, TWITin has a fairly detailed analysis tool built in, which measures your company’s Twitter profile based on five categories: influence ratio, retweet ratio, tweet efficiency, retweet score and followers rank.
Becoming effective on a site like Twitter, let alone measuring a relevant ROI can seem like a daunting task. If you learn to set reasonable goals and implement effective measuring tools while remembering to engage people, you’ll find the Twitterverse isn’t so big and scary after all.