How to Explain Social ROI to C-Suite

How to Explain Social ROI to C-Suite

Social ROI is a hot topic of discussion for all companies involved in social media. How can you prove the value of social media efforts to C-suite in a powerful and persuasive way? What role can social media analytics play in this process?

It’s a question that Talkwalker’s CEO Americas Todd Grossman tackled recently in an article for Social Media Today and we thought we’d breakdown some of the insights he shared.

Here is what he had to say about the issue:

“In our experience, to prove true value it’s critical to build metrics based on data that C-suite can easily digest and clearly map back to true business goals and objectives.

Here are Todd’s 5 tips to do just that:

1. Understand Marketing And Sales Objectives – And Social’s Role In Achieving Them

Before social even comes into play it’s important to understand exactly how social fits your company’s overall marketing and sales strategy. Clearly, this is going to be different for each company. For big multinationals, social may be more of a brand awareness tool - for a utility company it may focus on social customer service, and for B2B firms a method of attracting highly qualified customers through thought-provoking content. Whatever your strategy may be, you need to decide how social fits in and then work out the metrics you need to track against marcom goals.

2. Create A Measurement System Based On Those Objectives

Once you’ve decided how social fits into your broad sales and marketing objectives the next step is to create a measurement dashboard that puts your data into context. Metrics can be measured against key competitors, against industry standards, past performance, or all three - but the key is to stay consistent in how frequently and what type of data you track. This way the numbers you pull will be reliable, accurate and useful.

porsche v ferrari overall

(Example of dashboard to compare social media metrics against competitors)

3. Throw Away Numbers That Aren’t Relevant To Your Goals

There are a lot of social media metrics out there so it’s very important to be picky about which ones you will track, otherwise you’ll soon be overwhelmed. Only keep the metrics that are pivotal to your overarching goals – whether they be engagement rate, sentiment figures or total share of voice – and leave the other, less meaningful, metrics on the back burner.

4. Map Social Media Data Against Other Sales And Marketing Data

For C-suite the impact that social, marketing and sales activities have on the bottom line is often the most important factor when making key decisions. Social data on its own doesn’t always paint an accurate picture of marketing and sales ROI but when combined with other kinds of data such website traffic data or sales data it becomes easier to prove the worth of social media activity. The key here is to plot these data sets on the same graph so correlations can be spotted quickly and easily. Which brings us on to...


(Example of graph plotting both social media data and sales data)

5. Use Good Graphics that Make a Difference

Throwing an endless stream of numbers at executives is rarely a good way to catch their interest or prove the value of your efforts. Similarly, overly complex graphs and charts are an instant turn off. Instead spend some time distilling your key numbers into a few visually appealing, simple but powerful graphics and your efforts to explain social media data will be much more effective.

twitter heat map

(Example of a Twitter heat map showing mentions of Microsoft around the world)

To wrap up, proving the ROI of social isn’t always easy. But by tying social media goals clearly in to overall marketing and sales objectives, integrating social data with other sales and marketing data and by taking the time to simplify and narrow down your key results, social media professionals can make sure C-suite knows how valuable social can be to improving the bottom-line.