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April 17, 2014

Social ROI: It’s More than Just Likes

By Karen J. Bannan

How are you measuring your social media success? If your organization is like most, you’re tracking how many likes and retweets you get and watching the overall growth of your social audience. While this data is solid and may help to inform if you’re doing the right kind of lead capture, it doesn’t tell the whole story, according to David Dubois, assistant professor of marketing at graduate business school INSEAD.

Dubois this week penned a story that suggests it’s a bad idea to rely solely on traditional return on investment metrics when assessing social media success. Instead, says Dubois, brands should be paying attention to other metrics that aren’t as easy to come by. He explains that marketers should be assessing “how close their brand is to their community. [H]ow many comments do the social assets receive every day? How many of them are being replied to? What is the social sentiment of the brand? While positional equity is determined by quantitative measurements such as number of likes, fans, shares, etc., relational equity requires more refined measurement as it is determined by the kind of responses or feedback on your posts/photos/videos/infographics…”

This type of strategy takes work on the part of the marketing and social media departments because you’ll need someone who is charged with responding to customers and building relationships – not just spewing automated messages. If a customer asks a question on Twitter, he or she doesn’t want to get a link with a telephone number or web form to fill out. They want an answer that addresses their issue or question in a timely, personalized manner.

I will never forget the time I tweeted to a large department store about a problem I was having with my refrigerator. I got a private message back and a phone call from customer service within 15 minutes of my original tweet. They had a repair person at my house by 10 a.m. the next day. I have told the story numerous times and that company – Sears – has earned my loyalty and respect. Do I follow Sears on Twitter or Facebook? No, which proves the theory that Dubois wrote about: Your social media ROI is more than just simple metrics. Relationships matter more.

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