You have a great blog, and you know how to run it. You commit to posting up on it regularly, and people are giving you positive feedback.
The problem is, you have no way of knowing if all the time, initial spend and ongoing maintenance of your blog is worthwhile. Like marketing of any sort, ROI for blogging can be nigh on impossible to keep track of in many ways, as the value it brings cannot always be measured in dollars against time.
As a business and brand, you need to know exactly what effect your blog is having on your business, and understand both the plus and minus sides of the blogging mix.
Measuring social media ROI isn’t impossible, but it can be difficult because many of the pieces that need to be evaluated are difficult to track.
What is ROI?
Here’s the complicated bit!
As a standard formula, ROI is basically, ROI = (X – Y) / Y, where X is your final value and Y is your starting value. In other words, if you invest $5 and get back $20, your ROI is (20 – 5) / 5 = 3 times your initial investment. In the financial sense, ROI is measured purely in the context of dollars and cents, however, the principles can really apply to any type of investment, whether financial or otherwise.
Having set milestones and goals, and strong baselines is crucial to calculating your return on investment. Before you set out to measure and monitor your social media returns, you need to have a clear idea of what it is exactly you want to achieve. Is it sales? Comments? Hits on your blog?
Once you have your goals defined, you need to gauge the baseline for your levels before starting or changing your social media strategy. For example, if your goal is to increase social media mentions of your company, in order to measure the ROI of any actions taken toward that goal, you need to know where you stand at this moment. When all that’s in place, you’re ready to start measuring your success. These are the best tools out there for monitoring how well you are getting on:
This is a free tool that can provide a really powerful baseline for a variety of different factors. You can track incoming links and then the activities of the users they send, which can be helpful.
Omniture lets you use a wealth of services to measure your business, including components that track Facebook and Twitter metrics.
If you use TweetMeme’s retweet buttons on your sites, this tool lets you measure how often they are clicked. It’s like Google Analytics, but specifically for the Twitter site.
This suite of tools measures social engagement on other platforms and services. Instead of just a raw number, you can actually see the messages and comments from other sites that contribute to your stats.
HootSuite is a great Twitter manager but also offers impressive analytics. The nice thing about the click data you get from an application like HootSuite is by looking deeper, you can more easily see if those clicks translate into transactions or impressions on your other sites.
How do you measure your blog’s ROI?
Please share your views in the comments below.