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Using Social Intelligence to Measure Marketing ROI

Posted on the 21 November 2013 by Marketingtango @marketingtango

All marketers want to know the return on investment (ROI) of their efforts, but it can be difficult to pin down. As marketing pioneer John Wanamaker famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Connecting Social Content to Sales

Now some marketing agencies are finding new ways to tie the results of social and content marketing more directly to sales. Digital agency SocialEnvi, for example, has developed a new system that applies “social intelligence” and ties it back directly to the cash register.

The system focuses on ROI by tying marketing and social activity back to the actual register to show the effect on sales. The company plans to create software “dashboards” for different vertical markets by focusing on industry keywords.

Take restaurants, for instance, where a point-of-sale system shows how many specific menu items are sold over a period of time. The SocialEnvi dashboard system searches online keyword mentions to spot trends and link them to point-of-sale data, allowing companies to attribute an increase in say, cheeseburger sales, to spikes in social activity by customers.

Companies can measure how many people were talking about them, how many retweeted or shared, then determine how many customers consequently “checked-in” the next day and tie it back to sales of a particular item.

Customers Create Their Own Content

Franchise chains can learn why certain locations are more successful by looking at what’s being said and shared by their customers. And there’s plenty of content about your business out there, even if you didn’t create it! Think Yelp reviews, blog posts, Facebook mentions/shares, Instagram photos, Pinterest boards, Tweets, FourSquare check-ins, Vine videos, YouTube, etc…

In the retail or fashion industry, there are also seasonal trends to be factored in.

Car dealers can focus on customer service (e.g. helpful Honda dealers) and look for the top salespeople mentioned on social by happy customers. Sales associates with the most social mentions are usually the top producers, and vice-versa.

To Recognize Success, First Define It

As with all marketing campaigns, it helps to determine your goals first. Do you want more likes or tweets? Are you aiming for more views? Do you want your content shared? Or do you want to test messages to see which ones drive traffic and sales? If you can first figure out what success looks like, you’ll have a better chance of recognizing it when you reach it.

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