In a world where social media “gurus” and “experts” scream at conferences that, “You can’t measure social media ROI!” or “What’s the ROI of your mom?!” to the befuddled looks of attendees, it’s amazing that anyone understands what measurement means.
As Don Bartholomew, one of my favorite metrics-obsessed researchers, is fond of saying, “Measurement is about performance against objectives. If you don’t start with measurable objectives, you’re just collecting data.”
How true that statement is. The problem with trend articles and blog posts around measurement is that every brand, every approach and every campaign can have different measurable objectives. Those objectives reflect what the brand is trying to accomplish, not some magical button that every brand can push to reach a common goal. It’s also important to realize that all goals aren’t easily measured. But that doesn’t necessarily make them any less significant.
Measurable objective: Increase volume of Facebook likes by 10 percent in 6 months.
Not: Increase presence on Facebook.
Measurable objective: Increase amount of traffic to the website by 20 percent through referrals and social media promotions/contests.
Not: Host contests on social media platforms to drive traffic to the website.
Hard to Measurable objective: Build repeat usage, increase share of voice, loyalty and brand advocacy. Gaining trust and building loyalty takes hard work. Lots of Facebook fans does not brand loyalty represent. As my friend Augie Ray in his post “Social Media Marketing is Broken” says: “I blame marketers for focusing on quick fixed and easy metrics rather than appreciating that – as always – brands gain customers’ trust, usage and loyalty through hard work, not clicks.”
Much of the time, people get confused with strategy and objectives, choosing to answer the “What are we doing?” question prematurely. If you want to know our opinion, it’s the people that don’t actually get marketing and business objectives that complain the most about ROI.
As marketers, you can wax poetically all day about how social media will raise awareness of brands, put your name out there, and that everyone is doing it.
Sounds like a 1960s Marlboro ad to us – and the C-Suite largely doesn’t care if they are in the popular crowd. They want to know that whatever they’re investing in is making an impact on the bottom line.
If you want to get your C-Suite’s attention and have them understand social media, here are a few things to try.
- Email key players in your organization, from customer service, to marketing, and executives that make decisions. Ask them when they can meet with you, separately, for 15 minutes.
- In that meeting, ask them what they would like to accomplish overall in the year. Then, break it down in increments on 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. These are your “benchmark” months and help you evaluate if you are meeting your goals.
- With C-Suite executives, ask if you can have their top 3-5 business goals. All measurable objectives should reflect overall goals.
- Once your measurable objectives are laid out with data to back it up, set up a meeting with all parties. This should include how often you will report on the data, and what you will provide to the C-Suite as results.
- We also recommend providing a one-page executive summary for easy reference.
- Create a 10-20 slide presentation and try to keep it short — 30-45 minutes, max. Time is precious, don’t waste it.
- Include in your presentation some of the non-financial metrics. These are things like an increase in web traffic, visits to a particular landing page or blog post, blog posts that draw the most traffic, an increase in positive brand mentions and growth of share of voice in the social space. For some, these won’t be as important as the financial metrics, for they are an important part of the overall picture.
- Once the presentation is complete, ask if you can have 10 minutes in the next few weeks with each person separately to review the presentation and solicit their feedback.
- Edit your objectives pursuant to the feedback received. This is important, because each step is meant to incorporate all parties so they feel that they had a hand in it. This is a foundational step for buy-in.
- Stick to your reporting schedule and present in a professional manner. Include both financial and non-financial metrics in your reports. If, for whatever reason, you don’t meet the goals for the reporting period established, discuss how you can adjust and why it happened.
As you work to get the C-Suite on board with social media and measurement, keep in mind that you need to take a slightly different approach. They’re not looking for warm fuzzies, they’re looking for how what you’re suggesting budget dollars be allocated to impacts the bottom line. By using the above tips, and maintaining a focus on the ROI of an investment in social media marketing (both financial and non-financial), you’ll likely get the participation you need to forge ahead with a successful digital marketing strategy.
Have you dealt with members of the C-Suite and social media? Feel free to share any other tips you have at getting this crucial group to sign on in the social space.