Platonik

What value is social media to a business? 4 ways to measure

This is my attempt at answering the question “what value is social media to a business”?

I hope I upset a lot of people because then I know I will have struck a chord.

I am a left brain quantitative marketer that relies on data and analytics.

Whereas social media has many intangible and qualitative features.

I am really shit at social media.

I worked in marketing before the internet.

Even though I’ve been on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for 10 years I was classically trained to broadcast marketing messages.

Changing a broadcasting mindset to a conversational one is tough.

So I’m really shit at social but god loves trier !

For the last few months I’ve posted on LinkedIn and got a few hundred views of video and images from my 374 followers.

Damn these pesky kids that were raised on mobile phones and know how to leverage social media.
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Kaushik advocates 4 ways to measure social media

Over the weekend I was reading Kaushik and his 4 ways to measure social media.

  • Conversations  – comments per post.
  • Amplifications – retweets or shares per post.
  • Applause – likes per post.
  • Economic Value.

You can go and read his excellent analysis of the first 3 metrics where he slaughters some big brands trying and failing miserably on social media.

In fact some of these brands are actually hurting not helping themselves.

Let’s look at Brian Dean’s Backlinko social media value.

Brian is the king of SEO but also has a strong YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn profile.

Let’s look at some of the social metrics from ONE of his pieces of content on YouTube, LinkedIn and his website.

YouTube social metrics

  • Conversations : 417 comments.
  • Amplifications: shares will appear in his YouTube analytics.
  • Applause: 2000 likes.
  • Economic Value : ask Brian.

LinkedIn social metrics

  • Conversations : 56 comments.
  • Amplifications: shares will appear in his LinkedIn analytics.
  • Applause: 288 likes.
  • Economic Value : ask Brian.

SEO Post social metrics

  • Conversations : 537 comments.
  • Amplifications: 2602 shares on social and 567 backlinks to his page.
  • Applause: unable to measure.
  • Economic Value : 25,230 organic visits per month, advertising value of $76,255 per month or $915,060 per year; only Brian knows how many leads and revenue he generates from this page.
  • Economic Value : for ref domains or backlinks the market value of a link is $352 so those links are worth nearly $200,000.
  • Source of economic value comes from Ahrefs; who under estimate traffic.

Putting the economic value of his top page in perspective; I would have to pay $76,255 a month in advertising to get that type and amount of traffic.

But I was fascinated with the 4th way to measure; the economic value of social media.
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“What are we getting from social?”

If you’re working for a organisation someone somewhere sometime is gonna ask what are we getting out of this social investment ?

Note : I come from a purely commercial background so hit the back button if you are a charity, non profit or government type organisation because I’ve no experience of your goals.

I have plenty of friends and colleagues that are accountants and they’d look at every expense in a business and question it.
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Spent £12 million on awareness once & got a financial ROI

When I applied for a sponsorship manager’s job 19 years ago the director who interviewed me asked “how will we get a financial return on this spend?”

I told him we’ll leverage the assets and focus on the activities that bring in customers and revenue.

Most brands who sponsored in the 90s and noughties could only boost brand awareness with sponsorship.

I was a bit of a marketing maverick back then and used sales and marketing techniques that drove real results via sponsorship.

I put a few noses out of joint and had to “fight” the PR staff and outside sponsorship agency about the type of activity to pursue that would get business results.

I still have the data and spreadsheets on an old laptop drive that quantified the revenue from the activity that was implemented.

Anyway back to the economic value of social media because I see parallels with sponsorship and the current state of social media.
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Google Analytics Social Value

I have found a way to report on the economic value of social media.

Google Analytics has a report called Acquisition – Social.

To find the social value report log into Google Analytics.

  • Click Acquisition.
  • Click Social.
  • Then click Overview.

Google Analytics Social Value report

Here’s my social value analytics.

  1. This year I’ve had 15,757 sessions (visitors)
  2. I’ve had 329 conversions (people who filled in a form on my website)
  3. Social media has contributed to 18 of those conversions.
  4. These social contributions have mainly come via Facebook.
  5. To conclude, social media has a 5% contribution to my sales leads.

Google Analytics Social Value and Conversions

  • Facebook Fans : 171
  • Instagram Followers : 138
  • Twitter Followers : 757
  • LinkedIn Contacts : 367

Told you I was shit at social media.

A client with a similar lead generation type of website, here’s his social value.

  1. The website had 48,851 sessions (visitors).
  2. There were 2138 conversions (people who filled in a form on website).
  3. Social media has contributed to 52 of those conversions.
  4. These social contributions have mainly come via Linkedin.
  5. To conclude, social media has a 2.4% contribution to their sales leads.

  • Facebook Fans : 529
  • Instagram Followers : N/A
  • Twitter Followers : 950
  • LinkedIn Contacts : 2810

Maybe I am not as poor at social media as I thought if the metric to measure social media value is its contribution to sales leads.
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Social Value Case Studies

I have been involved with a number of ecommerce businesses over the past decade; building them, auditing them, marketing them.

So I decided to review 4 ecommerce stores and their social value.

Case Study 1 : Small e-commerce online retailer – no shops

When reviewing this report for an ecommerce store within Google Analytics a conversion is not a lead it’s a sale and sales revenue.

  1. This website had 5268 sessions (visitors).
  2. 22 sales (£1035 revenue).
  3. Social media has contributed to 1 sale (£175).
  4. These social contributions have mainly come via Facebook and Instagram.
  5. To conclude, social media has a 16.9% contribution to their revenue.

  • Facebook Fans : 8500
  • Instagram Followers : 6762
  • Twitter Followers : 2805
  • LinkedIn Contacts : 105

Case Study 2 : E-commerce retailer, 1 small retail store

When reviewing this report for an ecommerce store inside Google Analytics a conversion is not a lead it’s a sale and sales revenue.

  1. This website had 38,690 sessions (visitors).
  2. 1940 sales (£73,664 revenue).
  3. Social media has contributed to 21 of sales (£614).
  4. These social contributions have mainly come via Pinterest.
  5. To conclude, social media has a 0.8% contribution to their revenue.

  • Facebook Fans : 2200
  • Instagram Followers : 64
  • Twitter Followers : 850
  • LinkedIn Contacts : N/A

Case Study 3 : E-commerce Retailer – no retail stores

When reviewing this report for an ecommerce store inside Google Analytics a conversion is not a lead it’s a sale and sales revenue.

  1. This website had 105,861 sessions (visitors).
  2. 54887 conversions (£136,370 revenue).
  3. Social media has contributed to 8023 of sales (£6438).
  4. These social contributions have mainly come via Instagram.
  5. To conclude, social media has a 0.47% contribution to their revenue.

  • Facebook Fans : 3300
  • Instagram Followers : 14700
  • Twitter Followers : 105
  • LinkedIn Contacts : N/A

Case Study 4 : Fashion e-commerce retailer – 5 shops

When reviewing this report for an ecommerce store inside Google Analytics a conversion is not a lead it’s a sale and sales revenue.

  1. This website had 225,570 sessions (visitors).
  2. 3960 conversions (£322,965 revenue).
  3. Social media has contributed to 36 of sales (£2841).
  4. These social contributions have mainly come via Instagram.
  5. To conclude, social media has a 0.13% contribution to their revenue.

  1. Facebook Fans : 11827
  2. Instagram Followers : 60,700
  3. Twitter Followers : 66
  4. LinkedIn Contacts : N/A

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Quantitative Metrics are hard to swallow.

If I presented these social value reports to anyone working in social media they would feel threatened and angry.

Anyone who has invested time, money and energy in creating, sharing or commenting on content will hate quantitative data presented so coldly.

I follow a golfer on Instagram; his content and tutorials are awesome.

I have never bought from him, never commented, never shared and only made the occasional like.

The value I receive from him today does not show up on his social media value report.

This intangible value doesn’t show up anywhere and social media people will argue, rightly so, about the value they contributed.

To be blunt, if you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.
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How long does a social post last ?

It takes time, effort and paid resources to post to any social media channel.

I put together about 10 short 30 second videos on LinkedIn a few months ago.

  • Hours to think about the idea.
  • Hours to script write.
  • Time to set up the camera and lighting.
  • Time to edit and produce the videos.
  • Time to add captions.
  • Time to burn the videos.
  • Time to upload and wait for them to go live on LinkedIn.

3 days of not earning x £200 a day = £600.

LifeSpan of Content

There are quite a few resources that measure the lifespan of content.

  • Twitter – 18 minutes
  • Facebook – 5 hours
  • Instagram – 21 hours
  • LinkedIn – 24 hours
  • YouTube – 20 days
  • Pinterest – 4 months
  • SEO – 2 years

how long does your content last - social v SEO

So you maybe know where I’m going with this.
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Yes, I focus on SEO.

I am creating content for the Google search engine and earning traffic month after month and now year after year.

Look how this blog post of mine has grown since March.

Like a fine wine this post is becoming more valuable week after week.

And I don’t touch it or do anything with it.

Google just keep crawling billions of website and their robots is figuring out my page is a better match than most for people.

Look at the Size of Search Volume and Clicks

Google search is fecking huge.

Search Volume and Clicks

Billions of clicks still go to websites every month.

You just have to figure out which of those clicks are ideal for your business.

That’s what I do; figure out which of those searches are relevant for my website and put up content to satisfy some of the searches and clicks.
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SEO is actually getting easier

With many businesses have already moved towards social media and need their quick fix of instant results SEO has gotten easier.

Are you doing social media because that’s what you’ve been told what to do?

There’s a ton of shit content on Google that you can easily create that’s more useful to the user and outrank the top results.

Are you throwing your money down the drain with social media ?

I am playing devil’s advocate with this question.

Social media may be working fantastically well for your business.

If it is, well done.

If you aren’t sure if it’s working or not, then dive into the Google Analytics Social Value report.

You might be putting a whole lot of time and money into Instagram and it’s not contributing anything to the bottom line.

Some of the case studies above may spark a conversation internally with your marketing and social team.

Maybe you’re open to manoeuvring a little of your budget from social to search.

Either way, if you’re open to a dialogue, I’m here or leave a comment below.

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