Social Media ROI Demands: Must See Charts for Marketing

Social media seems to have been with us for a long time. I recall 5 years ago when every new client would say, “We’re going to build a community site.” That was about the extent of social media. Facebook was probably only at 100 million users at that time.

Today everybody is talking about social media. It’s the same rush in the 80’s with desktop publishing, and web design in the 90’s. Every one can and does “social” media. The larger companies are trying harder to justify their social budgets. Small companies are trying to figure out if they need a Facebook page (most of them think they do) ¬†and a Twitter account.

These two charts will help you set your course for next year as a business, as an ebusiness consultant, or an online marketing professional.

2012 Social Media for Business - Attitudes on Social Marketing

84% of businesses are going forward with their social programs. 10% think having a facebook page and twitter account and some interns tweeting is enough. And 6% of companies have the idea that “social” is failing as a business driver. Okay. Let’s see what the problem is.

Social Marketing Survey - 2012 - Methods of measuring socia media

I can tell you from first-hand experience at Dell and a number of other businesses the Qualified Leads (35%) is always going to be the CFO’s measure of social media results. The marketing buzzwords of “activity,” “brand,” and “sentiment” are not going to hold water in 2012 for most businesses.

If a LIKE on Facebook can be traced to a sale, BINGO, you’ve got results. IF “commerce” on facebook is part of your KPI (key performance indicator) you’re in trouble.

Okay, Dell, Pepsi, and Starbucks can afford to do “branding” on social media. The accounting firm, or small franchise can’t seem to connect the dots between social and revenue. And it’s not going to get a lot easier in 2012. But it’s the primary objective we much focus on.

If social does not equal revenue. Then social equals marketing expense, and without ROI, a waste of money.

How will you draw the direct results attributable to Facebook and Twitter? What tools will translate sentiment and “share of voice” to dollar values? Stay tuned and stay focused. And let’s prepare now, to rock 2012.

John McElhenney

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