ROI and social media: 3 key strategies for financial advisors
By Amy McIlwain
Financial Social Media Marketing
Similar to relationship building meetings and events, social media offers the platforms to spread the seeds of your business to the world. Measuring the growth of the seeds, however, can be a challenging concept to grasp.
Think back to the last time you attended a trade conference, a chamber networking event, or an impromptu coffee meeting with a lead. During these occasions, I assume you engaged in conversation, exchanged pleasantries, passed out business cards and gave brilliant elevator speeches. In other words, you “spread the seeds” of your business with hopes that some would grow into lasting business relationships.
Let’s face it, many seeds whittled and faded, but others probably developed into fruitful returns on your investment of time and energy.
Similar to relationship building meetings and events, social media offers the platforms to spread the seeds of your business to the world. Measuring the growth of the seeds, however, can be a challenging concept to grasp. It begins by shifting your definition of your return on investment (ROI) and developing a solid list of key performance indicators (KPI).
Below are two indispensable strategies to consider when it comes to measuring social media ROI:
1. Change your perspective
In the old days (1990s), it was easy to launch a marketing campaign and measure the success via bottom line growth. With social media marketing, it’s a little different. Many advisors (understandably) struggle grasping the benefits and potential returns of social media. With a little shift in perspective, however, the benefits and returns are hard to ignore.
- Cost savings: Let me state the obvious: Social media is cheap and in many cases, free. By having stellar social media processes and operations, you will save your company a boatload of money that otherwise would be spent on costly marketing campaigns. Don’t ignore this when examining benefits and returns.
- Search engine rankings: Google is the number one search engine tool in the world and is an integral part of many people’s day-to-day lives. Think of social media as the vehicle to increased search engine rankings and, ultimately, worldwide exposure.
- Cost avoidance: Whether you’ve accepted it or not, people are talking about your business on social media. Whether or not you choose to participate in this conversation is up to you. I don’t know about you, but if I knew people were talking about me in real life, I’d want to be there to save face. On social media, you have the power to not only listen in, but monitor the conversations that are buzzing about your business. Just think, putting an end to one negative conversation may result in one new client that may have otherwise never looked twice.
- Sales and revenue: Just because the bottom line is no longer the only measure of success, it doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Continue to measure the relationship between your business’s bottom line and your social media efforts.
- Social capital: Social capital refers to the collective or economic benefits of knowing people. In other words, the more people you know, the more likely you are to gain referrals and prospects, get preferential treatment and develop your “celebrity.”
Key performance indicators are the mediums through which your business assesses success. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of measuring your performance. You’ll waste years of time and energy if you fail to do so. Here’s how you can get started:
- Create categories: Choose metrics that you can translate into business categories, such as sales, leads, customer satisfaction, customer interaction, etc. Determine these categories based on the goals of your business. For example, if you’re seeking to increase referrals, use referrals as a unit of measurement.
- Stop fixating on your “likes”: Define more than just attention metrics (number of followers, etc.). For financial professionals, it takes time to develop a large following. And while it’s great to have as many followers as possible, it’s essential to expand your attention to other areas, such as higher search engine rankings, follower engagement (likes, comments, shares), and weekly total reach.
- KPIs for each social network: Each social network is different. On Facebook, you may measure your “weekly total reach,” whereas on YouTube, you may measure the number of video views. Regardless, make sure you cater KPIs to the specific network.
Below are some awesome free tools to help you gauge the performance of your social media marketing. The information and insights you obtain from these sources will be useful in all realms of your business.
- Facebook Insights: Facebook Insights is a great tool to measure the impact of your posts, how many people are talking about your page, demographics and your weekly total reach outside of your fan base. You can access insights by logging into your business page and clicking on the admin panel.
- Google Analytics (free): With Google Analytics, you can insert a line of code into your website and keep track of how people get to your site, how they navigate through it and how long they stay.
- YouTube channel stats: On YouTube, you can keep track of video views, demographics, playback locations, traffic sources, audience retention, subscribers, views and more.
- Going Up!: This is another free web analytics package that helps you monitor traffic trends, SEO, keywords and user profile data.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is not necessarily a monitoring tool, but it can provide good information about your connections. Use it to keep track of your competitors, industry trends and hot discussions.