There’s been a lot of talk about measuring ROI (return on investment) in relation to social media; and it’s a conversation we’ve been actively following. Unfortunately, it seems that there are few concrete metrics which allow for accurate reporting. The world of social media changes so rapidly affecting the ability to maintain consistent forms of measurement. Additionally, it’s difficult to measure a conversation’s impact on the dollars and cents – how far does the reach of the conversation spread? But if we can’t measure the full impact of social media and its correlation to the bottom line, how do we recommend to associations that this is a worthwhile and necessary endeavour?
According to an infographic created by Online MBA, 66% of all online adults are connected to at least one social media platform; Canada ranks #2 on the list of the most Facebook users by country (statistics from socialbakers). In the same way the television changed the face of advertising, so has social media – only this time the conversation can be two-way. Rather than obsessing over ROI, our philosophy is to invest our time in measuring social engagement and the value that it provides to the membership.
In the old days of association management, one of the only ways that you measured your membership’s satisfaction with the association’s activities was through a year-end survey. With social media, you have the opportunity to obtain real-time feedback from your membership. Consider the following questions when evaluating your investment in social media:
- Are members using their “voices”? If your membership is not engaging in conversation on your social networks, it may be worth re-evaluating the approach you’re taking. If your members are interacting, make sure that their comments are heard in some form by the Board; keep the conversation going.
- Is the information you provide via social networks useful to the membership? You can use free tools such as bit.ly and Google Analytics to track the click throughs on links and to your website. Keep in mind that your membership may not feel inclined to comment on your posts, but if they’re taking a step towards reading your content, it means that it is being promoted effectively and is of interest to them.
We hope that our philosophy on social media has provided you with some things to consider. While others struggle with measuring ROI, we believe social media is about building relationships and maintaining your association’s status and brand.
Agree or disagree, we’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences as well.