Surveys say companies struggle to measure social media ROI

While more than 80 percent of companies use social media, less than half actually measure their efforts.

The Proactive Report’s recent study of the top companies across several categories revealed that, on average, more than 80 percent are using some form of social media.

Yet another study shows that most companies have not figured out how to calculate a return on that investment. According to a Hypatia Research report, only 40 percent of companies measure social media performance quarterly or annually, while almost 13 percent of the organizations surveyed do not measure ROI from social media at all. Another 18 percent said they do so only on an ad hoc basis. Hypatia didn’t specify what response the other 29 percent gave.

Although we like to feel that social media marketing is maturing, it seems there are too many companies that are still throwing ideas and money against the wall, without even checking to see anything sticks.

Those that are measuring performance rate customer satisfaction as number one, followed by:

  • Customer retention: 14.3 percent
  • Brand reach and frequency metrics: 9.4 percent
  • Number or quality of leads generated: 9.2 percent
  • Net Promoter Score: 8.4 percent
  • Customer service center cost reductions: 8.4 percent

The authors noted that there is room for debate on whether the Net Promoter Score belongs on this list, since it is a survey-based metric of how likely customers are to recommend a company or its products, measuring probabilities rather than actual performance.

I agree with that. Measuring actual sharing and recommendations would be more effective.

The cmbPulse study of more than 1,500 consumers by market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies found that 60 percent of Facebook fans and 79 percent of Twitter followers are more likely to recommend those brands since becoming a fan or follower. An impressive 51 percent of Facebook fans and 67 percent of Twitter followers are more likely to buy the brands they follow or are a fan of.

If you create a strategy before you start, and set clear goals with metrics attached, measuring ROI will not be impossible. In fact, it will be really easy.

Sally Falkow is a social media coach and blogs at The Proactive Report where this article originally ran. You can follow her on Twitter @sallyfalkow.

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