This post is part of the Top Ten Tips series put on by SCORE.  SCORE is a great organization dedicated to setting small business owners up for success.  I’m so honored to be part of their board and kicking off the Top Ten Tips series.  This is the second post of ten so please start from the beginning otherwise you may get lost.

A quick recap: For something that has only been in existence in the last ten years; social media has gotten a lot of press.  It has also grown in complexity as it has gone from a place for friends to get together to something companies develop entire strategies around.  This can be quite daunting.  When I put these three facts together: young, complex, daunting; it reminds me of a particular time in my life.  It’s called high school.  So we’re going to have some fun with this by connecting social media with high school.

Now for the question we’ve all been waiting for: What is the ROI of social media?  How do I measure this thing?  What’s it gonna cost to get to the top?  To save you some agony; let me answer the question simply.  There is no easy way to determine ROI.

Let’s go back to a happy day for many; attending or for some of us playing high school sports.  We can remember the glean of a recently polished basketball court, the smell of fresh cut grass on the field, the pride of having left it all out on the field, the chance to forget about all the stress of life and just get lost in the game.

How do you think the school measured ROI of the sport’s program?  Do you divide the revenue of foam fingers sales by the number of lineman?  Maybe they projected that if end zone dances improved; it would lead to a more productive booster club.  There’s really not a simple answer to that either is there?

Everyone knows though, that there is great value in the sense of community that sports create.  New friendships are made.  Everyone experiences the same game they can talk about and relive later.  The school administration knew they were pleasing their “customers”, creating “brand loyalty” and making some money (concessions, apparel, etc.) while they were at it.

This isn’t to say that there is no way to measure how you’re doing.  Let’s look at a few.

  1. How do you stack up against your local competition?  A high school baseball team that measures their own success by looking at the Atlanta Braves will be sorely disappointed.  They play against other local high school teams.  It’s the same for you.  Look at what your local competition is doing.  Do you have the same amount of fan, followers, etc?  If they aren’t involved in the social media space, then congratulations; you can capture a demographic they’re missing.
  2. Are your customers engaged?  Are people responding to your questions?  Do they submit suggestions?  Do they give you kudos for a job well done?  If you’re getting good feedback; that’s an example of a win.  If you’re not seeing this, don’t get frustrated just look in the mirror.  Your customer will only be as engaged as you are.  If you can’t make yourself engaged; hire or contract someone who has a passion for it.
  3. Offer up online coupons and give-aways.  This will attract new business and excite current customers.  It’s also easy to measure.

Tip number 3:

ROI is only a single piece of the pie.

Check back tomorrow for tip number 4.