Executives responsible for marketing budgets need to know if there is any ROI value in social media. First, however, you need to know what methods are best for 2013. Recent statistics show that:
• Almost 58 million Americans visit social media networks every day. 89% do it to stay in touch with family and friends. 67% do it to entertain themselves. 66% do it to learn about new products and services, and 48% do it for their career. That 66% is who you want to target.
• Twitter is one of the fastest growing networks, both in users and in interaction. In fact, interaction between Twitter users increased by 69% in 2011 to 76% in 2012! In addition, approximately 40% of American people hear about tweets through traditional mass media, meaning even other forms of information and news lead back to Twitter; more than four in ten Americans hear about or read tweets almost every day in media including television and radio broadcasts.
• Brand following behavior on social sites has doubled over two years, with Facebook leading the pack. This is thanks mostly to the ability to promote offers on Facebook and use mobile apps to disseminate coupons and other deals. 79% of users prefer using Facebook to connect with brands and products, while only 9% of users prefer using Twitter, finding Facebook easier to follow friends’ recommendations.
• Age 18-24 Facebook users have the most friends. They are also the age group most likely to depend on online sources for product and service reviews. Although 1/3 of social site users are “silent”, don’t discount the lurkers!
• “Check-In” behavior is stalling. Thanks to concerns about stalkers and privacy issues, checking in is tapering off. 57% of users almost never have used a “Check-In” service to post a status update that provided location. Don’t count on this as a marketing ploy, but instead encourage customers to put safety and privacy first.
Once you have your visiting and interacting numbers up, you can start measuring value. Some people mistake big numbers as big results. They assume it means they are being heard by a lot of people. Well, hearing is easy; listening requires focus. Subscriber counts are well and good, but the number of people you actually reach is far more important.
Calculate your reach based on a number of factors, including response, and be realistic. Not everyone you “reach” is actually paying attention. The key is making the most of those who you do get your message across to. What trips so many webmasters up when it comes to SEO and Social Media ROI is not knowing how well or poorly their efforts are working. You cannot find out how valuable something is until you assign a value.
It doesn’t matter how or what that value is. You can say that a re-tweet is worth a dime and a back-link from a PR3 site is worth a dollar. Just assign something so you can measure. You can even use a point system, and convert to dollar value later. Whatever method you choose to measure your efforts doesn’t matter so long as it is consistent and you do it regularly!