Mission Impossible? Measuring the ROI of Social Media as Part of B2B Marketing Strategy

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It’s a challenging, but common question asked today by B2B marketers: how do I quantify the value of social media engagement? In fact, research proves that marketers are still skeptical about how to actually identify the ROI of social media marketing.

A recent Gleanster Deep Dive white paper, Quantifying the Value of Social Media Engagement in B2B Marketing, suggests that in order to determine the ROI of social media for B2B organizations, marketers should first look at the following:

  1. How are Top Performing organizations actually utilizing social media?
  2. Which social media outlets should B2B marketers be using?
  3. What metrics should be used to measure the success of social media investments?

Answering these questions will help provide a foundation of information necessary for determining the ROI of social media in B2B marketing.

How are Top Performing Organizations Utilizing Social Media?

Although only 52% of Top Performers actively utilize social media channels in the marketing mix (Source: Gleanster Q3 2011 Social Media Engagement Survey), Top Performers are twice as likely as Everyone Else to use social media in inbound and outbound marketing – which certainly warrants investigation of what these organizations are doing differently.

Which Social Media Outlets Should B2B Marketers Be Using?

The answer depends on the organization, the products, the industry, and target audience. It is important to evaluate who you are trying to target and to look at which channels are the most frequented by those prospects or customers.

According to Gleanster Research, LinkedIn is the social media channel most favored by B2B marketers.


What Metrics Should B2B Marketers Be Using to Measure the Success of Social Media?

Top Performers typically focus on two or three core metrics for measuring the success of social media efforts. These metrics could be anything from the number of fans or followers on a given social platform to more complicated metrics such as, sales bookings and conversions.

Social-Media-ROIAlthough a number of metrics can be used to determine social media success, ultimately, management needs to buy into the core metrics that will be used to measure success – regardless of what they are.
What metrics does your organization use to measure social media success? Do you think it’s realistic to measure social media ROI based on sales and conversions or should B2B marketers be looking at distribution metrics like followers and mentions? Share your feedback in the comments below!