There was a great article about social media in McKinsey Quarterly this past spring yet still relevant now.
McKinsey looks at the issue of social media as a whole, and how it’s confusing for so many businesses:
We believe there are two interrelated reasons why social media remains an enigma wrapped in a riddle for many executives, particularly nonmarketers. The first is its seemingly nebulous nature. It’s no secret that consumers increasingly go online to discuss products and brands, seek advice, and offer guidance. Yet it’s often difficult to see where and how to influence these conversations which take place across an ever-growing variety of platforms – among diverse and dispersed communities, and may occur either with lightning speed or over the course of months. Second, there’s no single measure of social media’s financial impact, and many companies find that it’s difficult to justify devoting significant resources—financial or human—to an activity whose precise effect remains unclear.
An unnamed telecom company mentioned in this article took a good approach. They had a few ways to measure ROI and knew what they wanted out of social media:
The company then tested its options. At various times, it spent less money on conventional advertising, especially as social-media activity ramped up, and it modeled the rising positive sentiment and higher search positions just as it would using traditional metrics. The company concluded that social-media activity not only boosted sales but also had higher ROIs than traditional marketing did. Thus, while the company took a risk by shifting emphasis toward social-media efforts before it had data confirming that this was the correct course, the bet paid off. What’s more, the analytic baseline now in place has given the company confidence to continue exploring a growing role for social media.
For a lot of people, whether you’re a non-government organization, politician, or private sector business, it’s important to have specific goals in mind when looking at your social media goals.
SimplySocial can help track key analytics and give you key feedback weekly, even daily.