Social media represents potential
Before getting hung up on calculating exactly what we're getting out of social media, it is vital to shift our understanding of what social media
is and how it operates. One of the biggest mistakes is to consider social media as an end in itself - aiming to acquire a certain number of fans or followers and seeing those numbers as representative of social media success. Rather, social media ought to be approached as the medium or the vehicle through which a following is created and maintained.
Traditional media advertising and even email marketing works in much the same way - every advertisement or marketing mailer represents potential rather than an actual sale. Furthermore, marketers must fathom a more detailed picture of social media.
By looking at the ROI of specific activities that are engage in via social media, we can start to calculate the value of those specific activities rather than the social media endeavour as a whole.
Google's new analytics tool
While calculating the full extent of Social Media ROI is still not entirely possible, Google's new Analytics tool
is pushing the frontiers in terms of bringing new levels of insight to what each social share means for your business.
The expansive new tool aims to identify the full value of traffic coming from social sites and to measure how they lead to direct conversions or assist in future conversions. The tool is ultimately designed to help marketers or website owners to understand social activities taking place both on and off of a particular site to and to help optimize user engagement as well as increase social key performance indicators (KPIs).
The tool compounds various social reports and allows the user to analyze a vast amount of information together in order to see a more complete picture of social impact. This relates to the previous point regarding viewing social media as a vehicle and seeing it as a whole made up of certain actions - by using tools such as Google's social reporting, companies will have to look at what aspects of their social media is creating the most conversions; what should be nurtured or perhaps phased out.
Overall, the tool can help marketers make more competent data-driven decisions when implementing their social media marketing strategies, but its statistics still remain open to interpretation. In order to truly measure social media ROI marketers and brands will have to deepen their understanding of their methods and their following in much the same way they measure success in offline activities