This certainly seems to be the question everyone is asking these days. How can we quantify the actions taken by our Twitter followers, and finally declare an ROI on our social media efforts??
Well, I believe we are closer than ever to reaching this solution and establishing an effective valuation technique. I believe that, currently, this value must be redefined as an Earned Media metric. For those of you who aren’t familiar, this picture demonstrates the differences in types of media.
Earned Media is the advertisements you receive from sharing, mentions, retweets, reviews, etc. It comes through your brand advocates, and most influential followers. (Do a quick Google search on Earned Media, and you’ll see countless articles and discussions on the topic.) Earned Media must be closely tracked and valued, as it is what can propel your campaign and sales to greater awareness and in turn sales.
There is no realistic formula for the value of a follower, as of yet. Most places announcing they’ve found this magical equation are simply dividing a pages’ fans/followers by the CTRs (Click through rates) to see the overall activation. I’d like to see this metric brought to a single follower, rather than the lot, as each follower will have a different value.
It is becoming increasingly important to look at your net promoters, and most engaged audience. These are the people that really matter in your social media efforts.
One last thought on this topic. Market researchers today must evolve from their standard practices to work hand-in-hand with software/technology companies to complete additional relevant studies. New formulas and definitions of “value” must be established. The industry is continuously shifting and evolving, and it will be important for every business aspect involved to evolve as well.