In Search of Social Media ROI

We all know we need to measure the impact of our social media efforts. But how? Determining the return on investment (ROI) of social media is a challenge.

Every brand has different business goals, different audiences, and different reasons for using social media. So, it follows that there is no single ROI formula that works for every organization.

The right ROI measures are specific to you, and defining them starts with asking the right question. You need to get to the specifics of what you want to achieve on social media.

  • What business challenges do you want to solve?
  • What are your social media objectives?
  • What is the baseline that you want to impact?

If you don’t take the time to answer these questions, you can’t truly measure the impact of your social media effort. You can see trends in traffic and engagement, but you won’t know if it really matters to your business.

Social media metrics like reach, impressions and engagement are offered by all the major platforms and other tools. What they don’t necessarily tell you is whether any of that is helping you with your business challenge or advancing your objectives.

Define what it means to achieve your goal and reach your objectives. Then, select social metrics that reflect progress.  If your goal is to increase sales, then the number of followers on Facebook is not nearly as important as the sales numbers.

Don’t be afraid to start with assumptions of what measures will accurately reflect progress. It can be difficult to make a direct correlation between social activity and goals.

The important thing is to start with defining what you want to achieve. Then assess. You may need to refine your metrics as you go.

  • Are you making progress toward business goals?
  • Are objectives being met?
  • What role does each social tactic play?

Ask yourself these questions regularly. Look at the data. Adjust as needed.

Success Tip: Create a Social Media Calendar

Social media effectiveness is all about content. Sharing great content is essential. Develop a calendar to make sure you cover all your goals and that your timing creates the best impact.

List the dates and times to publish your intended types of content on each channel. Plan all of the social media activities in your strategy. A calendar will ensure your posts are spaced out appropriately and published at the optimal times.

Make sure your calendar reflects the goals you have set, so that everything you post is working to support them. List and plan for all of the types of content that you want to share:

  • Videos
  • Images
  • Infographics
  • Website links
  • Industry and community content
  • Etc.

Placing these different post types in your content calendar will help ensure you maintain the ratio you’ve planned. Keep in mind the social media rule of thirds:

  • One-third of your social content promotes your business, converts readers, and generates profit
  • One-third of your social content shares ideas and stories from thought leaders in your industry or like-minded businesses
  • One-third of your social content involves personal interactions with your audience

Once you have your calendar set, use scheduling tools or bulk scheduling to prepare your postings in advance. This allows you to focus on crafting the language and format of your posts, rather than writing them on the fly whenever you have time.

Want to Boost Sales? Do Less “Selling”

Guest Post By Colin Spence, Outsourced Sales VP, Sales Xceleration.

One of the common complaints owners of businesses often have about dealing with salespeople is that they are, well, “too salesy.” By that they mean that salespeople are often too pushy, too persistent, too determined to make a sale regardless of whether that sale is actually a solution their business needs.

It follows, then, that if this approach is seen as a problem and annoyance, it’s time for a fresh approach. It’s time for salespeople to stop pitching and pestering and start listening and problem solving.

Here’s why that matters and how to boost sales with less selling.

Your Customers Have Different Needs

The first step in freeing yourself from outdated sales methods is to understand a fundamental shift that has occurred over the last decade or more: Your prospects and customers are better informed today than ever. They know what their competitors are doing, how markets are performing and, of course, what many of their internal challenges are.

What they need from you, more than ever, are solutions within the context of those factors. They need you to help them stay competitive, increase market share, and/or improve their company operations.

They don’t need you to doggedly try to sell them your products or services simply to make a sale. Think of it this way: a sale might seem like a win to you, but if what you sell your customer doesn’t solve a problem or fill a need, it is only a complication and an expense to them.

Ditch the Pitch

Understanding the new customer mindset should help you redirect your own. Rather than the old school idea of relentlessly delivering your standard sales pitch, start a conversation.

Do you like it when a salesperson is pitching hard, not listening to you and only serving their own interests? I bet the answer is “no.” Why would your potential customers like it any better than you do?

See yourself and the prospect as equals, getting to know one another and beginning a dialogue of discovery. This approach is much less intimidating and stressful than the typical always-be-closing pursuit that leaves the prospect feeling like prey in your cross-hairs.

Remember the New Goal

The real objective of your pitch-free conversation – or series of conversations over time – should be to discover whether you and the prospect are a good fit. Whether it makes sense to continue to discuss their needs and your potential solutions. That’s it.

How do you reach that awareness? Ask questions – it is hard to learn whether you are a good fit when you do all the talking. Don’t badger, but listen attentively and ask the kinds of questions that will help you uncover the root of their “pain.” Only by discovering this can you truly know whether your product or service is a solution they need.

Simply put, listen first and propose a solution later. Even then, only offer a solution if you truly have a solution to their problem. If not, say so. It’s perfectly fine (admirable, even) to say, “From what I’ve learned during our time together, it appears the solutions we offer aren’t the best fit for your needs at this time.”

You can always point the prospect toward another reputable solution provider – even a competitor. Chances are the prospect will appreciate your unselfishness, come back to you if their needs change, and perhaps refer you to more fitting prospects.

Even if the sales process and related communications with the prospect end there, you’ll save everyone much time and trouble and stress. It probably won’t even feel like a rejection or a lost opportunity because it was really a successful discovery that it just wasn’t a good fit.

Bottom Line

Making sales today requires a different approach. Today, boosting sales is more likely a direct result of conversations and relationship building and problem solving rather than relentless pursuit and pushing.

About the Author

Colin Spence is an accomplished and passionate Sales Executive with over 25 years of experience leading both national and global sales teams.  Colin believes that sales is a science that requires both process and discipline.  Colin formed Mid-Atlantic Sales Mechanics LLC to help small and medium-sized enterprises get to the next level by implementing and improving sales management and culture.  As an outsourced DC-Metro area sales consultant and licensed Sales Xceleration Advisor, Colin utilizes the power of Sales Xceleration’s proven sales growth and sales management systems to increase sales and boost profits for sustainable sales performance.  Colin is the mechanic who can fix your sales engine.