When pitching social media to clients, you better make it sexy.
In an article at revenews.com, Angel Djambazov explains that if results are not prefaced by dollar signs, they are not “sexy” in the sense that they are not attractive to bottom line thinkers inspired by return on investment often in the form of monetary profit. Bottom line thinkers who are most likely your clients.
In the public relations world, we are in the business of a different type of ROI – return on influence. PR practitioners understand that money is temporary and fickle while an upstanding reputation can stand the test of time and pull companies and personal brands through crises and catastrophes. Examples of this principle can be seen in the decline in Tiger Woods’ lucrative brand name with his diminishing reputation. Woods’ profitability can be resilient only if his good reputation is regained.
However, influence isn’t sexy. Dollar signs are sexy. So how do we explain to clients the prosperity of social media not only in the intangible sense of influence, but in cold, hard cash?
The answer is not simple.
Djambazov christens the easiest solution as “warm, fuzzy metrics.” Levels of engagement, participation and engagement are most often used to reassure clients that their brand is gaining awareness and therefore prospective customers.
Are you looking for cold hard (rather than warm and fuzzy) numbers? The first step is to define what your goals are. Are you using social media to garner impressions, leads or to lead internet users to action? Free programs like Google Analytics can rank numbers of impressions, clicks, time spent on your Web site and referring sites. Through analytics you can better understand where your traffic is coming from and what users are doing based on your social media brand.
For example, I recently created a Facebook landing page (an HTML designed page that takes the place of the general “wall” for fans of a Facebook Fan Page) for a client announcing a contest and linking to the company’s Web site. The following week after reviewing the company’s Google Analytics, I noticed that Facebook jumped from being the fifth highest referral site for the Web site to the number one referral site. While everything was not constant and therefore it is not certain that this change was due to the landing page addition, the shift is extreme enough for me to say with confidence that it indeed was.
For me, the predicament of quantifying social media returns is an exciting challenge. It is not black and white and therefore challenges public relations professionals to be creative, do intensive research and be constantly vigilant of changes in their social media performance.
I will be giving a complete presentation on ways to measure social media return on investment on April 8th in Dr. Matera’s JMC 417 class and look forward to extending my research to others as it garners so much relevance and reliability to social media’s reputation.
Most importantly, though, it makes it sexy.