Associations and Measuring Social Marketing ROI


If you’re struggling with measuring ROI or developing a social media strategy, you’re not alone. The 2015 Social Media Marketing Trends report authored by TrustRadius was released by Simply Measured today. Get a copy here. 

By the way, there was a free webinar on June 9th about the report findings. Get the presentation deck here.

What’s the ROI of your content effortsSocial media strategy is your broad guidance for your social activity. In theory, it should keep you from getting lost in activities that not directly connected to results. Just because you have a Facebook expert on your team and your Facebook presence is very developed doesn’t mean that’s the best place for you. Social can be a black hole of time suck if you are not informed and efficient. However, if you know what’s working and can measure it, it’s a daily miracle.

Here are a few highlights from the report and a few tips to improve your measurable performance from your social marketing.


KEY FINDING: It is surprising, but organizations of all sizes still struggle to demonstrate the value of social marketing.

Despite access to sophisticated data collection tools this remains the top challenge in 2015.

Let’s break this down:

For member-based organizations, there are some very specific metrics that can demonstrate the value of your social marketing, but the place to start is with looking at what you are posting in social.

Let’s be clear, advertising yourself in social channels is not social marketing, it is advertising. Social marketing is using the social channels in your marketing. And marketing is not advertising. Marketing is about creating relationships and the currency in this dynamic is content.

If your content marketing goals are clearly defined, then it is a whole lot easier to identify your ROI from your social efforts. These goals need not be the big-picture strategic goals, many small, ephemeral goals can add up to a clear measurement of your ROI.

TIP: For anyone struggling to identify your social ROI, first make sure that your content marketing goals are clearly identified as SMART goals. Those are the goals that you want to measure. There’s nothing too difficult in measuring “increased website visits to your blog within 60 days” or “10% increase by June in self-managed X-level membership renewals through an offer in a certain content program.” It is easy to measure the value of the social marketing component in terms of traffic or assists that contributed to achieving these kinds of goals.


KEY FINDING: Most still rely on vanity metrics (likes, shares, followers and fans) to evaluate success.

Those metrics are easy to measure but the real goal is to tie them directly to revenue or customer acquisition and retention.

Let’s break this down:

It comes back to your content marketing program doesn’t it? Social is just another channel for your marketing, but it is a landscape in flux, with new channels, new features and changes in how the channels work. That makes it easy to get lost in the complexities of the channels and lose sight of what you’re supposed to be doing there.

TIP: Member-based organizations have always used content to engage their audiences. If your content marketing programs have defined SMARTgoals, then you will have specifics to measure. You will know your why and know what to measure.

If you don’t know your why then you can’t identify your how.
If you can’t identify the how, then you can’t develop specific goals.
If you can’t develop specific goals, then you can’t measure performance.
If you can’t measure performance, then you can’t improve your efficiency.
If you can’t improve your efficiency, then you can’t meet the demands.
If you can’t meet the demands then you won’t be able to get results.
If you can’t demonstrate results, then why are you creating content?


KEY FINDING: Social media strategy is not aligned with broader business goals.

Marketers report that they struggle with using social media data in their overall business strategy.

Let’s break this down:

Certainly if your measurement barely gets past vanity metrics then your data is not likely to inform your business strategy.

TIP: At this point, the pattern in our message is that your content marketing programs must have clearly identified SMART goals. In the absence of these goals, then measuring the performance of your marketing anywhere is going to be challenging, especially in the social channels where it is easy to measure lots of things. They just may not be the right things.


Interesting stats. The highly anticipated 2015 Internet Trends report has just been released. KPCB’s Mary Meeker presents the 2015 report, the first “The Internet Report” was published in 1995.

by Monica Bussolati

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