Getting ROI From Your Social Media Efforts

The social media world is bloated with buzzwords. We’re supposed to “engage,” have “conversations” and build “responsive” campaigns. But unless your job is to float jargon around a boardroom, you probably want a return on investment on your social media marketing efforts. That, after all, is what your tweets and posts (should) want. If you want numbers as hard as your efforts, here are five steps to developing a sound social media strategy:

1. Set up a measurement system. Before you get started, get analytics. Why? Because your initial social media efforts will tell you a lot about your audience. The last thing you want is to miss out on the cues that will drive your major campaigns. Whether you consider your social media strategy “organic” or highly strategic, you also want to know off the bat what your tweets, posts, Instagram pictures or Tumblrs are accomplishing.

Is your Facebook audience the Millennials you think you appeal to? Do your tweets lead to purchases? If something’s working, and you don’t know what it is, going forward you’ll struggle to build to a coherent strategy.

Sun Tzu said that “victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” He never lost a battle, and neither will you if you mobilize properly.

2. Connect ends and means. Ever read an email or web content with lots of exclamation marks? The question, of course, is who is that person yelling at? The answer: they probably don’t know. It’s a classic example of a disconnection between ends and means.

In line with “Sun Tzuing” your analytics, the next goal in your social media campaign should be to create synergy between specific goals (e.g., product sales, participation in contests, event attendance, etc.) and the social media message used to accomplish it. Your choice of channel, style, voice and content cannot be random; it must speak to the audience you wish to address.

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