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Social Media ROI Is For Professionals Only

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How often have you heard someone talking about social media without mentioning results? Or maybe you’ve asked your consultant about ROI (return on investment) metrics only to hear that they haven’t been developed for social media yet.

Business owners want to know the time and energy they are putting into social media is going to bring a return on investment (ROI). A lot of self-proclaimed experts and gurus want us to believe the metrics we need don’t exist yet. But that isn’t true. What doesn’t exist is their ability to produce results.

Andrew Ballenthin has demonstrated that social media can indeed give an ROI, and which metrics count in measuring it.

Andrew says, "The most important part is knowing what you want to measure before you begin. Social media is new, but the results businesses are after are the same — prospects, customers, and sales. If you know what you want to measure, the methods already exist."

For his Blog-Off events, Andrew measures the:

  1. Amount of traffic generated
  2. Length of each visit
  3. Number of pages viewed during a visit
  4. Volume of comments from visitors

Whether they make two posts or 20, these are the criteria competitors are judged on. And the results are impressive. The competitors achieved over 27,700 page views, 110 posts, 1,262 new comments (which demonstrated not just volume but quality of engagement), and a page visit time of two to six minutes.

And look at the metrics being measured. There’s nothing here that you aren’t already measuring for any website you have. And it’s a fair bet that any other metric you want to name is already being measured in traditional media. Making the leap to social media isn’t all that difficult.

How do you measure customer satisfaction? Some business owners engage customers in conversation. Competitors from Blog-Off II have shown you can engage people in conversations through your blog. The key to being successful at it is talking about something that interests your audience.

I can guarantee your audience is not interested in “Can you give me your opinion on issue XYZ?” Really, how often do you talk to people like that?

Instead, give your opinion – and give it strongly. Take a stand that something is the best, or the worst, and you’ll get people commenting. Some of them will argue with you and that’s a good thing. They’re giving you an opportunity to defend your position, showcase your expertise in the process, and stimulate more questions and comments.

One thing to keep in mind for social media is that it isn’t a marketing channel. Even when someone joins your fan page on Facebook, they still don’t want to receive marketing messages from you there. Again, they want you to talk about what interests them.

A great example is TripAdvisor’s “More Than Footprints” campaign. They involved their audience in voting for how TripAdvisor would distribute $1 million across five non-profit organizations. Without any direct response advertising, TripAdvisor increased membership by 500,000, improved their brand appeal, and got a wagon-load of press coverage.

Would you like to be sure your social media efforts will bring you an ROI? Then I strongly suggest you give some attention to Andrew, the team he has assembled, and the Blog-Off events he will continue to run. A primary objective for Andrew is demonstrating that social media ROI can be measured, and how to do it.

Tuesday, January 5, from 12:30 to 1:00 pm (EST), Andrew and the top three competitors from Blog-Off II will be discussing their results on ThatChannel. They will be explaining why the event was important to them, and what the results mean. You can catch them again Monday, January 11 from 12:30 to 1:45 pm (EST) on Jon Hansen’s PI Window on Business, and watch their social media efforts on the Community Marketing Blog.

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