Does social media success need to be defined?

Determining the success of a social media campaign is a difficult task – how do we define its success?

Econsultancy recently published a blog post where the value of social media was questioned – are companies experimenting with social media for the right reasons, and do they even know what results they are getting from their effort? How can social media return on investment be measured when it is such a broad concept?

“For firms who do measure, metrics that reflect reach and engagement (shares, likes, views, downloads etc) are often subjective.” – Are we in a social media bubble? Econsultancy.

This is true, it’s difficult to decipher the return on investment from reach and engagement. However, just because the form of measurement may be subjective, it doesn’t mean it’s not valid.

A client of ours, American Soda, has a successful Facebook page with nearly 12,000 likes. From the beginning of this year ’til the end of May, American Soda’s Facebook page accounts for 1.14% of its total sales. For example, if they turned over £300,000 in total sales, that would equate to £3,000 of revenue directly from Facebook. This may not seem like a high percentage but compare it to how much was spent on the original social media campaign and it’s a successful profit, a ROI of 50% to be exact.

The 1.14% of total sales is the amount of users who visited American Soda’s Facebook page and then went on to purchase items from their website. This figure doesn’t include the ‘subjective’ measurements of reach and engagement but they must be taken into consideration when looking at the total sales figure. For example, American Soda has incorporated Facebook like buttons into its online store and therefore a product liked by thirty people will be shared with each one of their Facebook friends. Moreover, a recent talk at SASCON revealed one out of every ten visits to a website comes from Facebook. How can 10% of your audience be ignored just because reach can be subjective?

A survey by Econsultancy found 47% of companies were not able to measure the value of their social media campaigns. And maybe this is where the problem lies, not with social media itself but with its execution. Followers, likes, engagement and conversation are all essential factors in succeeding with social media but companies also need a clear objective of what they are going to achieve. Putting a lot of time and effort into social conversation is all well and good but companies need to ensure they are creating a balance between investment and payback.

Social media can be an effective tool for communicating and reaching others without even thinking about a return on investment. Just being ‘out there’ and communicating your brand or services to the public can be of benefit. This poses the question whether social media needs to be measured to show its worth? What do you think?

fluidcreativity
  • Written by on 8th June 2011 at 11:36
  • “Fluid Creativity is an award-winning, multi-service digital agency based in Manchester.”
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  • SEOsherlock

    The social analytics tools from the likes of Socialbakers.com and Webtrends.com may help brands/companies put some value on their social media offering/campaign #justsaying

    • http://blog.fluidcreativity.co.uk Fluid Creativity

      I am currently on paternity leave until Monday 18th July 2011. If your enquiry is urgent please call Sarah on 0845 6588 373.

      I am checking my emails however there may be a delay in getting back to you.

      Kind Regards
      Lee Turner

  • SEOsherlock

    I dont think my comment is as important as raising you’re child so a delay will be fine thanks 😛

    • http://www.fluidcreativity.co.uk/fluid-thinking Fluid Creativity

      I am currently on paternity leave until Monday 18th July 2011. If your enquiry is urgent please call Sarah on 0845 6588 373.

      I am checking my emails however there may be a delay in getting back to you.

      Kind Regards
      Lee Turner

  • SEOsherlock

    I dont think my comment is as important as raising you’re child so a delay will be fine thanks 😛

    • http://blog.fluidcreativity.co.uk Fluid Creativity

      I am currently on paternity leave until Monday 18th July 2011. If your enquiry is urgent please call Sarah on 0845 6588 373.

      I am checking my emails however there may be a delay in getting back to you.

      Kind Regards
      Lee Turner

    • claironeill

      Sorry about the auto response fail…
      Will have a look at the sites you’ve recommended – cheers!

      • http://blog.fluidcreativity.co.uk Fluid Creativity

        I am currently on paternity leave until Monday 18th July 2011. If your enquiry is urgent please call Sarah on 0845 6588 373.

        I am checking my emails however there may be a delay in getting back to you.

        Kind Regards
        Lee Turner

  • Jamie Goodwin

    Not being a hard-nosed businessman, or an accountant, I tend to think of social media as what it is: a social tool. I don’t immediately think of it as a selling tool – I was under the impression that Web 2.0 meant less ‘LISTEN TO US’ and more ‘So, what do you think? Oh yes, that’s interesting, our company agrees’. Therefore I rarely think about ROI in social media unless asked to (I’m currently assessing the social media strategy for a well known bookmaker, they’re emphasising a need for ROI calculations).

    I tend to think of it like this: if your company hosts or sponsors an event with all the branding and relevant marketing plastered to the walls and surrounding area, and they put a shop at the heart of that event, how do you calculate the ROI? Do you base it on sales from that shop (which could equate to links to your website clicked on Facebook), or do they try to look deeper? What about all the visibility the brand received, what about the staff who were on hand chatting and befriending customers who didn’t necessarily buy something there and then? Does that not offer some measure of return on your investment in that event?

    I think social media can be quite like that sometimes. You can calculate the tangible things: likes; follows; clicks on a link; comments; retweets. But you can’t really calculate the reach it gives you, the exposure, the fact that your staff are on hand chatting to customers, which makes those customers feel better about your brand – enough perhaps to visit your website at a later date.

    That’s my 2 cents worth anyway :-)

    • http://blog.fluidcreativity.co.uk Fluid Creativity

      I am currently on paternity leave until Monday 18th July 2011. If your enquiry is urgent please call Sarah on 0845 6588 373.

      I am checking my emails however there may be a delay in getting back to you.

      Kind Regards
      Lee Turner

      • Jamie Goodwin

        I agree with SEOsherlock here, children come first, comments second :-)

        • http://blog.fluidcreativity.co.uk Fluid Creativity

          I am currently on paternity leave until Monday 18th July 2011. If your enquiry is urgent please call Sarah on 0845 6588 373.

          I am checking my emails however there may be a delay in getting back to you.

          Kind Regards
          Lee Turner

    • claironeill

      I agree with you, social media is a social tool; for conversation, to bring a personality to the brand. However, any company who forks out on social media services has a right to know their return on investment.

      As you say, it’s difficult to measure every aspect of social media but I think as the marketing method becomes more popular, there will be more and more tools to assess return on investment (thanks for the sites SEOsherlock). Social media is still a new concept and we are still discovering ways to determine how much of a selling tool it actually is. 

      • http://blog.fluidcreativity.co.uk Fluid Creativity

        I am currently on paternity leave until Monday 18th July 2011. If your enquiry is urgent please call Sarah on 0845 6588 373.

        I am checking my emails however there may be a delay in getting back to you.

        Kind Regards
        Lee Turner

      • claironeill

        And again, sorry for the auto response – your comments aren’t being ignored!

  • http://twitter.com/SEOsherlock Col

    The social analytics tools from the likes of Socialbakers.com and Webtrends.com may help brands/companies put some value on their social media offering/campaign #justsaying

    • http://www.fluidcreativity.co.uk/fluid-thinking Fluid Creativity

      I am currently on paternity leave until Monday 18th July 2011. If your enquiry is urgent please call Sarah on 0845 6588 373.

      I am checking my emails however there may be a delay in getting back to you.

      Kind Regards
      Lee Turner

  • Jamie Goodwin

    Not being a hard-nosed businessman, or an accountant, I tend to think of social media as what it is: a social tool. I don't immediately think of it as a selling tool – I was under the impression that Web 2.0 meant less 'LISTEN TO US' and more 'So, what do you think? Oh yes, that's interesting, our company agrees'. Therefore I rarely think about ROI in social media unless asked to (I'm currently assessing the social media strategy for a well known bookmaker, they're emphasising a need for ROI calculations).

    I tend to think of it like this: if your company hosts or sponsors an event with all the branding and relevant marketing plastered to the walls and surrounding area, and they put a shop at the heart of that event, how do you calculate the ROI? Do you base it on sales from that shop (which could equate to links to your website clicked on Facebook), or do they try to look deeper? What about all the visibility the brand received, what about the staff who were on hand chatting and befriending customers who didn't necessarily buy something there and then? Does that not offer some measure of return on your investment in that event?

    I think social media can be quite like that sometimes. You can calculate the tangible things: likes; follows; clicks on a link; comments; retweets. But you can't really calculate the reach it gives you, the exposure, the fact that your staff are on hand chatting to customers, which makes those customers feel better about your brand – enough perhaps to visit your website at a later date.

    That's my 2 cents worth anyway :-)

    • http://www.fluidcreativity.co.uk/fluid-thinking Fluid Creativity

      I am currently on paternity leave until Monday 18th July 2011. If your enquiry is urgent please call Sarah on 0845 6588 373.

      I am checking my emails however there may be a delay in getting back to you.

      Kind Regards
      Lee Turner

      • Jamie Goodwin

        I agree with SEOsherlock here, children come first, comments second :-)

        • http://www.fluidcreativity.co.uk/fluid-thinking Fluid Creativity

          I am currently on paternity leave until Monday 18th July 2011. If your enquiry is urgent please call Sarah on 0845 6588 373.

          I am checking my emails however there may be a delay in getting back to you.

          Kind Regards
          Lee Turner

    • claironeill

      I agree with you, social media is a social tool; for conversation, to bring a personality to the brand. However, any company who forks out on social media services has a right to know their return on investment.

      As you say, it's difficult to measure every aspect of social media but I think as the marketing method becomes more popular, there will be more and more tools to assess return on investment (thanks for the sites SEOsherlock). Social media is still a new concept and we are still discovering ways to determine how much of a selling tool it actually is.

      • http://www.fluidcreativity.co.uk/fluid-thinking Fluid Creativity

        I am currently on paternity leave until Monday 18th July 2011. If your enquiry is urgent please call Sarah on 0161 368 9814.

        I am checking my emails however there may be a delay in getting back to you.

        Kind Regards

        Lee Turner

      • claironeill

        And again, sorry for the auto response – your comments aren't being ignored!

        • http://www.fluidcreativity.co.uk/fluid-thinking Fluid Creativity

          I am currently on paternity leave until Monday 18th July 2011. If your enquiry is urgent please call Sarah on 0161 368 9814.

          I am checking my emails however there may be a delay in getting back to you.

          Kind Regards

          Lee Turner

  • http://www.fluidcreativity.co.uk/fluid-thinking Fluid Creativity

    I am currently on paternity leave until Monday 18th July 2011. If your enquiry is urgent please call Sarah on 0845 6588 373.

    I am checking my emails however there may be a delay in getting back to you.

    Kind Regards
    Lee Turner

  • claironeill

    Sorry about the auto response fail…
    Will have a look at the sites you've recommended – cheers!