Should you be measuring ROI on social media?

ROI and social media is a hot topic at the moment as more and more businesses invest time and resources into the illusive and unpredictable marketing channel. In an online survey carried out by Mzinga and Teradata Aster, it was revealed that an impressive 79% of businesses are using social technologies for business purposes. These purposes ranged from marketing and brand experience (64%) to HR (20%) and product development (15%).

Big data is talking, no one is listening

With an overwhelming percentage using social technologies for marketing and brand experience, its surprising to see that 75% do not currently measure ROI on social media. 49% confirmed that they had attained measurable success through social technologies, but had yet to use this to its full potential.

It seems that even if these businesses were reaping the full benefits of social media analytics, few would know what to do with it as 42% replied that they aren’t familiar with the concept of ‘big data’ and 45% said that it isn’t a priority in their business. And finally, an overwhelming 53% responded that they aren’t sure when big data would become a part of their business.

The survey was carried out by Mzinga, a social software and analytics provider; and Teradata Ester, a market leader in big data analysis. Data was collected between March 13 and April 4, 2012, and there were more than 500 participating companies from a variety of fields including: media, financial services, consulting, marketing, human resources, engineering, and more.

ROI on social media has long been an elusive topic, as many are still trying to work out the best metrics to measure audience engagement and lead generation. The title of this infographic from Pagemodo says it all: ROI on social media is still considered somewhat of a myth.

With social media ROI it’s important to remember that the return is likely to be invisible; rather than offering a tangible spike in sales, your business will experience an invisible boost in image and brand recognition.

That said, there is still an argument for utilising the big data available as this can help business owners to gain a great deal of insight into their audience, and how they’re interacting with the brand. Looking at the wider spectrum too can help businesses to spot trends in a way that a single person, or even a whole team could never comprehend.

For those just wanting to dabble in social media metrics there are plenty of articles available that will help you to set milestones and determine how you’ll measure interaction. This great article from social media examiner looks at 5 ways to measure interaction and engagement.

Do you measure ROI on social media? What method do you use?