ROI isn’t just sales and Net Promoter Score. If one tries to build a social media strategy around fans, likes, click-through and sales – one ends up with a social media experience that no one wants to participate in. And after all, isn’t participation what social media is all about?
Brands cannot force only traditional KPIs on social media, because unlike most other forms of communication, social media is more about brand than it is about anything else. The problem with elevating the role of brand is that it’s hard to measure ROI – hard, not impossible.
There are many ways to measure the ROI of brand. Qual/quant studies, brand valuations and tracking studies are our traditional methods. Our latest addition to this is Brand Playback– our method of listening in on online conversations to understand brand insights.
Some may think of this as "social listening," but it’s much more than that. The idea that we can use this capability to understand the effectiveness of our social media presence and tie that back to brand performance is just one way that ROI of social media can be determined for brand.
The greatest hurdle to effectively measuring this ROI is that most brands forget brand when they enter social media. Brand architectures are ignored, brand voices are forgotten and brand messages are overshadowed by unnecessary content.
2013 could be the year that changes, if in 2013 more brands take a brand-focused approach to social media that:
- Reinforces the brand strategy
- Aligns with brand/ product architecture
- Speaks on voice
- Communicates key messages
- Employs visual consistency
- Creates a holistic brand experience
- Is set up for measurement
Somehow, somewhere too many brands forgot about who they were and what they were trying to accomplish when they entered the realm of social media. If we come back to brand in 2013, then we can start to measure our success and prove that there is ROI in social media.
David Trahan is a Verbal Identity consultant for Interbrand New York.