After some years of experimentation companies will require better ROI measurements from their social media activities. But, how do you measure ROI from social media activities? How do you translate the number of followers or the media buzz created by your social media presence into ROI numbers?
Well, one company that has a clear view of the value of their venture the fiesta movement is Ford Motor Co. According to their Head of Social Media, Scott Monty, after launching the Fiesta movement activity Ford gained 38% brand awareness among surveyed persons under 30 (who had zero awareness of the Fiesta brand prior to the activity). This brand awareness was equivalent to the awareness of cars that had been in the market for two to three years. The investment in time is hard to estimate, but the investment in bought media was zero.
I think that quite a few companies can work with social media to increase their brand awareness. As an example companies like Skanska, NCC etc who builds homes can have competitions, just like Ford, where they let people live in newly developed housing projects for free and in return write a daily blog about their experiences when living in the house. By doing this the companies would not only get great coverage in multiple digital channels, but also acquire knowledge about what their customers really feel about their products (and find improvements to them). If they also use the knowledge of their community, like Ford does in the second phase of the fiesta movement, in creating the marketing around a new product the ROI will most certainly increase even more.
I believe that you will be able to measure the ROI from your social media activities. You just have to know your bench marks. What is your cost of brand advertising in traditional media? What is the ROI from these activities? OK, there’s your bench mark.