Henri Ford said: “The two most important things do not appear on the balance sheet of the company: its reputation and its men”. Alas, he was right. And yet, at a time when you are renegotiating your marketing budgets for the coming year and in a general context of rationalization of spending, the financial profitability of marketing actions is more relevant than ever. And this well before their added value on the reputation of the company and its brand image …

With an all-round presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, advertisers now want to have concrete (and financial) evidence of the financial ROI of social networks. Realistic or illusory?

Training & Co'm

Financial ROI: the biggest marketing challenge

Social networks or not, financial ROI has long been the biggest marketing challenge. According to a Terradata study, “the three most complex challenges facing marketing departments to respond to the pressure on their services are: contributing to increased turnover, measuring the success of marketing activities and validating marketing effectiveness by applying ROI measures. A trend confirmed recently in the latest Hubspot State of Inbound Marketing 2015 study: proving the profitability of its actions is the number 1 challenge for the marketing profession, for 22% of marketing professionals.

And therein lies the difficulty regarding social media. The “likes”, “followers”, “shares”, if they have an undeniable effect on the reputation of a company (this is one of the primary purposes of these networks), often appear as insufficient metrics to evaluate a contribution financial in terms of sales generated for example. The nature of the link to the brand expressed by a “like” is unclear. How does all this translate into turnover? This question was until now often evaded.

What tools to prove the financial ROI of social networks?

However, there are tools or techniques to prove the financial ROI of social networks.

Choose an integrated marketing and CRM tool

Inbound marketing all-in-one software includes both a marketing platform and a CRM platform. They certainly allow you to analyze the impact of your efforts on social networks (clicks, like, share, etc.), but above all they allow you to individually monitor the interactions you have with your prospects through these channels. At the same time, you can follow the evolution of each of them, their level of interest in your content, from a simple expression of interest on a social network (downloading one of your content posted on a social network. for example) to an actual sale.

At a global steering level, you are able to identify through which channels you were able to hook up your prospects and which networks were the most generative of leads, commercial opportunities and ultimately business. This gives you a fine level of analysis and can clearly identify how much the networks are earning for you. Hubspot is one of these integrated platforms.

Connect analysis tools to your CRM

There are multiple analytics software on the market (like the uberVU tool, for example) that can help determine which social networks are causing the most clicks and traffic. By connecting these tools to Google Analytics and other Social CRM software, you will also be able to understand how these efforts translate into visits to your business site, sales leads for salespeople or even sales.

Apply B2C techniques like couponing

More used in B2B, the dissemination of exclusive promotional offers on its social accounts is also a way to demonstrate the turnover achieved. Couponing is a good way to individualize an offer and find out who is behind a nickname. Social networks are however weak supports for digital coupons and their influence has less weight than that of search engines, coupon sites or emails.

What about the other metrics?

If it becomes possible to identify precisely the financial ROI of social networks, of course do not forget the other metrics. Beyond the financial aspect, the Forester cabinet distinguishes three other dimensions when talking about ROI on social networks:

  • Risk management : How well is the company better prepared to handle a crisis, a news story, a bad buzz or an attack that could affect its reputation?
  • Digital notoriety : have actions helped strengthen the brand’s presence on the Internet? Has it gained new digital assets (community)?
  • Attachment to the brand : Has consumer attitude towards the brand improved? Has the product / service preference increased?

More concretely, the associated metrics are as follows:

  • Visibility : number of impressions, views;
  • Recommendation : number of shares, virality rate, Net Promoter Score ;
  • Level of engagement : Pages viewed per visit, length of visit, number of likes, votes, comments, engagement rate.
  • Tone : positive, neutral, negative mentions.