Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of using social media can be tricky. The inability to measure its impact can be a huge barrier for companies wishing to employ social media. And for those who do use social media in their business, it’s difficult to see how well, or indeed, how badly, a campaign is going.
So why is it so difficult to measure ROI when it comes to social media? Firstly, it’s difficult to measure the quantitative nature of human interactions and conversation. It can also be problematic to measure the benefits of elements such as time with brand, brand positioning and the building of trust. The benefits of using social media are generally qualitative in nature – for example, social media campaigns can increase loyalty and influence – and as a result can be problematic to monitor. Social media has many different aspects and as such it’s impossible to measure ROI in just one way. Breaking down these qualitative attributes into understandable chunks that we can measure, understand and translate easily into a business context is an essential step in measuring social media ROI.
Here’s is a list of a some tools and services available. If I’ve missed any obvious ones, or indeed obscure ones, please feel free to leave a comment.
- Argyle Social is less about monitoring trends and sentiment, but more about aggregating your social media accounts and analysing only hard numbers and direct outcomes of your campaigns.
- bit.ly is a ubiquitous URL shortener that not only makes it easier to share links, it allows you to track your own links (or your competitors) by simply adding a + to the end of any bit.ly URL. This feature will let you view how many clicks you’ve received, top referrers, and the location of the clicks.
- Cymfony is a social listening tool that pulls information from traditional media, social media and proprietary data to provide insight, identify influencers and answer your specific market research questions.
- Google Alerts, albeit not strictly speaking a social media tool, setting up Google Alerts for your name, your company name and your products this simple step will help keep you in touch with what people are saying about you and your brand.
- Involver Audience Management Platform offers a dashboard that manages all of your social media applications, monitors communication, and provides analytics based on actionable measures so you can see the true ROI of your actions.
- MediaVantage is designed for PR professionals. The tool gives you instant access to TV, print, online and social media content that is relevant to your brand’s reputation, your industry, or your competition.
- Networked Insights’ “Social Sense” product line offers simple social media listening tools to monitor what is being said about your brand and your industry. Their “Social Sense TV” product allows you to survey the buzz surrounding specific TV shows so that you can make your traditional media spend more efficient.
- Objective Marketer is a site that allows you to create the content and strategy and just steps in to objectively analyse how people have interacted with the content you have posted. By measuring clicks, views, likes and more, the Objective Marketer discovers trends and finds out what is working for your brand and what’s not.
- Radian6 is one of the most popular social media monitoring sites. Radian6 scans an impressive number of social networks, news sites, blogs, discussion boards and video and photo sharing sites in order to find out what people are saying about your brand in these channels. The data is analysed and delivered to your dashboard, complete with presentation ready graphs.
- Spiral16 is a monitoring tool that scours the entire web, not just social channels, to collect digital content about your brand. Their findings are then presented a unique 3D Virtualisation that allows you to quickly find the information that is relevant to you and your brand.
- Spredfast is an analytics platform. Spredfast tracks and measures your campaign’s effectiveness based on content output, how many people were reached and if they were engaged. They also offer a benchmarking feature that allows you to compare the effectiveness of your campaign against other strategies in your industry or against similar campaigns in different industries to see where you stack up.
- SWIX is a tracking tool that goes beyond clicks and measures how much people are engaging with your social media content. SWIX shows you your performance on over 70 distinct audience and engagement metrics across 20 of the most popular social media platforms.
- Trackur monitors who is talking about you and what they’re saying on the web based upon a set of keywords you enter. You can see how influential the people and sources talking about you are so you can man- age your reputation accordingly.
- Trendrr is a site that analyses blogs, micro-blogs, search engines, social networks and even video to see what people are saying about your brand and provides numerical analysis to help you understand what it all means.
- Viral Heat is an analytics-based social listening tool that shows you more than a stream of mentions, but allows you to see each mention and analytics about it as well as overall trends concerning your brand.
- Visible Technologies is a monitoring tool that provides you with a dashboard of analysed data on what people are saying about your brand and helps companies delegate responses and workflow.