While it’s easy to spot a social media marketing disaster, it’s not as simple to prove that corporate social media delivers return on investment.
When companies get social media wrong, it’s obvious. American Airlines, for example, was forced to apologise after it accidentally tweeted an X-rated picture in response to a customer complaint earlier this year. Similarly, Nando’s Australia suffered public backlash when it used Schapelle Corby’s February prison release as an opportunity to promote peri-peri chicken on Facebook.
While social media marketing disasters may be easy to identify, demonstrating return on investment on day-to-day corporate social media efforts is not as simple. What metrics should you track? How do you know if social media leads are converting into customers? Does social media audience engagement impact on sales?
For social media managers who need to justify their own salaries, reporting tools that go beyond the capabilities of free services such as Google Analytics may provide answers.
Elzina Hodzic is a solution architect at Sydney-headquartered IT firm Professional Advantage, which is a reseller of business intelligence platform Qlikview. She says that advanced social media reporting tools, such as those offered by Qlikview, can help organisations demonstrate social media return on investment, benchmark success against competitors and track customer sentiment.
“If you go into Google Analytics, you can look at your website analytics information, such as how many visitors you have. That’s all good, but you’re looking at it in isolation,” she says.
“The business value is if you can actually pull that information together, connect it to other information that you have on premise – such as sales information and customer information – and look at it all from an overall perspective. You can see how social media is impacting and driving revenue. You can’t quite comprehend that by looking at Google Analytics on one side.”
She says that there is more to corporate social media success than measuring followers, retweets and click through rates. Analyzing sentiment across social media channels is important too.
“It’s not enough to track how many people are following you. You also need to understand what it is that they’re saying about your product or services, and you don’t really want someone to [read each comment] manually,” she says.
She says that Australian businesses have been slow to embrace social media reporting tools because there are so many free analytics options available. However, not understanding the bigger picture can be costly too.
“While social media is free, it can be costly to manage and even more costly if not used properly,” she warns.
First published and reproduced with kind permission from Management Today.