If your eyes are blurring from reading yet another account of how to measure social media ROI, you’re not alone. Each day on blogs and across social networks the subject is debated and new formulas make the rounds. NSI’s recent newsletter shines a different light on this subject, and encourages organizations to create their own definitions of social value.
One way to measure social ROI is to define it as the actual value one can derive from a specific social media marketing activity. This definition inherently means that there is no one-size-fits-all ROI formula. Instead of chasing after a generalized, and ultimately restrictive ROI measurement system, every marketer should take the opportunity to assign a unique social value to each campaign. It all starts with goal setting. In other words, define what you want to measure. Visualize the results first. Then work backwards to create steps to measure if you achieved those results.
Ideally social value measurement will include tracking socially attributable and socially assisted macro and micro conversions. A series of micro conversions can represent relationship building over time. They are important to track, and vary in their definition from company to company. Often they reflect a conversion action other than a sale; such as a white paper download, a registration for a newsletter or a request for a free report. Micro conversions should not be overlooked as they can be indicators as to the type of content that the audience finds valuable. (Read an extensive and highly valuable discussion by Avinash Kaushik about this topic. He champions this line of thinking and offers detailed examples on how and why to track micro conversions.) These micro conversions (and any others marketers wish to create) can be set up as goals in Google Analytics then tracked via Google Analytics’ social conversion reporting. In this way marketers can see which social network visitors completed specific goal conversions.