ROI calculation for social media

There is a lot of scepticism surrounding social media being a good channel for marketing. The main reason for this is that companies do not believe social media cannot help them make more money. This is a misconception that most companies have and this is the reason they do not leverage social media. Tracking the return on investment (ROI) in a social media campaign maybe a tad bit tedious but is definitely possible. Below are described some steps that can be followed to calculate the ROI of a social media campaign

  • Set conversion goals:

Different organisations will have unique social media conversion goals. But in all cases, the company will want the customer to take a measurable action that ultimately has monetary value. Examples of some conversion goals are

  • Make online purchase
  • Fill out contact form
  • Use online quote feature
  • Click on link to dealer website
  • Sign up for newsletter
  • Download document
  • Spend time on important webpage
  • Engage in social media interaction
    • View any video posted
  • Track conversions:

How the conversions are tracked depends on the social media platform being used. Google analytics and built-in trackers on the social media platforms will cover most situations. There are also many apps that allow more sophisticated tracking. Some of the metrics for the conversions are

  • Reach: More the number of followers on social platform, greater is the ROI for any campaign.
  • Traffic: Getting visitors to the company’s website where conversion may happen is a major goal of any social media plan
  • Leads: This is probably the most important measure, ratio of leads coming from each referring site.
  • Customers: Track the number of social-media generated leads that become actual customers
  • Conversion rate: Tracking percentage of visitors on social media platform tells you what’s working and what’s not.
  • Assign monetary value to each conversion:
    • Using historical data: If the company knows the life-time value of each customer through historical data, it’s easy to backtrack conversion value.
    • Guesstimating: If there is no historical data available, experience will have to be used and decision will have to be made on how much the company is willing to spend to get similar number of conversions through any other medium.
  • Measure total benefits through the channel :

Collect incoming traffic and conversion numbers by site from the analytics tool. Create a spreadsheet that correlates the data to the total monetary value of those conversions.

  • Determine Total costs:

Add up promotional account fees, labour costs and sundry costs that is invested into the social media channel.

  • Analyse results and calculate ROI:

Use the data from the total benefits and total costs to calculate the ROI for the social media channel. Now the results of the social media campaign per channel for each campaign or promotion is available to share with the management and clients. Also this data can be used to determine where the investments can be increased in order to achieve better results.

Now that we can actually show the benefits of social media campaigns, go ahead and launch your social media campaigns with more confidence!


Social Media campaigns Fail !

Social media campaigns need to be really thought out before being released to the public. The risk with social media campaigns are that the control lies entirely with practically everyone who stumbles upon the campaign. A campaign made in haste or without giving much thought about can go horribly wrong as seen in campaigns listed below

  1. AgarMaKaDudhPiaHaiTo by Fortis Healthcare:

Breast feeding is the probably the most beautiful, natural way of expressing motherhood for a woman. It symbolizes a mother’s caring nature and marks a new journey in a woman’s life as a caretaker.

Fortis – Mamma Mia provides pregnant women with a platform to make their journey easier. The only problem though is that they may have started on the wrong foot on twitter. Firstly, the phrase itself is widely used in violent, aggressive ways and resonates with bloody brawls. In no way does it connect with World Breast Feeding Week.

It’s probably best to avoid a ‘1980s villainous dialogue’ in a hashtag when you’re celebrating breast feeding week. But Fortis went further and messed it up. #AgarMaKaDudhPiaHaiTo tag by Fortis invited one liners for a contest. As it spawned negative reactions, they came up with an apology that their account was hacked. Serious reputation management troubles!


  1. Vibrator by Volkswagen

When Volkswagen India’s print campaign which had a small vibrator box pasted to their print ad received widespread criticism,

The readers across the country were entertained/shocked/ irritated by an innovation by Volkswagen, where a gizmo attached to an ad in the newspaper ‘vibrated’. The campaign headline thought it would make consumers ‘shiver’ with excitement. But many made the jump to ‘vibrator’ and ‘vibration’ and sexual innuendo was begging to be included. The tone and speed of the comments couldn’t have made things easy for whoever is handling the car manufacturer’s social media presence. Many were calling the gizmo a vibrator, and the majority, at some stage, must have been women.

They further made matters worse in Twitter. When people started tweeting in absolute mockery, portraying the ‘vibrator’ campaign to be a women’s favourite, the company lashed out in a tweet that “women would be dumb to call it a vibrator. Or maybe they do not understand real driving experience. #PunIntended #Volkswagen #Creative”. The company was forced to take down the offensive tweet and apologize.

  1. ‘Like’ a tweet? – INOX

Character limitations in Twitter tend to create typos. But, does it create things that don’t belong to this micro-blogging platform? INOX, in one of its tweet promotions asked the followers to like a tweet. If your social media manager mixes up Facebook with Twitter, you should be looking for a new guy.

  1. Jabong via Flipkart, GoIbibo via Makemytrip

You wouldn’t want to plagiarize even if you have a serious lack of content writers. However, it was totally uncalled for when the e-com giant Jabong created a job listing in LinkedIn that said “wanted a Brand Head to drive awareness for the Flipkart brand”. GoIbibo had a bad day when Makemytrip uncovered a tweet that Goibibo copied from them.

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Traditional Marketing Vs Social Media Marketing

The same principles of traditional marketing applied to social media marketing may not derive the same results as desired. Hence in order to run successful campaigns, it is important to understand the differences between the two and leverage upon both in an efficient way.

The Funnel

In traditional marketing, the funnel represents the process of finding and converting new prospects and finally sustaining the converts. It is represented as a funnel since the number of customers that flow from the find to the sustain stage keeps decreasing.

In social media, the process of find to sustain can be represented as an inverted funnel. Using social media, we can have lesser number of customers at the find stage. But in accordance to how the model works, the few finds will spread the word and bring in more people at the convert and sustain stage.

This would be the most important difference that we need to keep in mind when using the two marketing techniques.

Engaging the customer

In traditional marketing the relationship between the customers and company is one way. The company talks “at” the customer. The way traditional marketing is carried out is not focussed and aimed at the masses. There is no concept of customer engagement.

Social media marketing is based on the creation of original and value-added content that attracts customers. The content which can be in the form of blogs, articles and videos should be such that they provide interesting information to the customers. The unique and interesting content compels the users to return to the social media sites and to engage with the brand through posting content and commenting.

Reaching out and creating awareness

Traditional way of advertising through ads and print does not reach out to as many customers as it used to. Now there are ways of tuning out the advertisements since the customers find them intrusive. Bombarding the customers with irrelevant offers and products may irk the customer creating a negative aura around the brand. One advantage of the traditional marketing is the control over the content that the company wants to circulate.

In social media marketing, the ads are customised for customers based on their preference and choice. It reaches out to customers who are trying to engage with the brand. Engaged customers share their content through social media which creates an increased level of awareness amongst their network of friends and family. There is a network effect created. Custom content can also increase search rankings as links are shared thus leading to an increased visibility for the brand. One downside to this is that the content being published cannot be controlled by the brand.


Companies spend a lot of their marketing budget in traditional ways of advertising such as TV advertisements and also print ads. With customers increasingly becoming specific and aware of what they exactly need, the effectiveness of TV ads is reducing. Most people find that to be intrusive and skip the ads altogether making the ads obsolete and rendering the budget spent on advertising redundant.

Social media marketing in that aspect is very cost effective and is more efficient in reaching out to the target audience. This is compounded by the viral nature of social sharing. Considering that a lot of consumers make their purchase decision based on the recommendations on social networks, this comes at almost no additional cost to the company and thus is very cost efficient.

Thus social media marketing though seems much more powerful than the traditional way, there are chances that it can backfire and hence should be used cautiously along with the right mix of traditional way of marketing.



Comparison between Twitter and Facebook

With Social Media gathering huge momentum, two of the social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc are taking over people’s lives. Facebook and Twitter are probably the most popular tools of social media and as it happens with most competing brands, there are huge discussions on which is better than the other. This blog compares the two social media sites.

How It All Began
Mark Zuckerberg along with his college roommates launched Facebook in February 2005. It first started off as a social site for Harvard students only but then expanded to include other Ivy League university students. In September 2006, it was made available to anyone who was over 13 years of age. The company went public on 17th may 2012 and was valued at $104 billion. Facebook’s user base is growing rapidly and at end of July 2014 it was about 1320 million users.
Jack Dorsey founded Twitter on March 21st 2006. It was launched on July 5th 2006. Twitter does not reveal its user base, but it had exponential growth between 2009 and 2011, with 2 million tweets a day in January 2009, 32 million tweets a day in January 2010, 90 million tweets a day in September 2010 and 200 million tweets a day in July 2011.

Purpose of use
A major difference between Facebook and Twitter emerges in their methods of communication. Facebook is, in fact, meant to be more passive. In contrast, Twitter seems a much more active form of social communication in which the way you talk to people on the social network emerges as much more conversational.
Facebook is used by members mainly to connect or reconnect with people that they know ofline. Facebook lets members create profiles , post status messages on their wall, upload photos and share links and blogs, write notes, send private messages to friends, text and video chat, and also to play games. In short it is used as a social platform as well as for entertainment. It allows users to express themselves in detail and makes it more personal since the people that we connect with are all friends and family.
Twitter allows users to post 140 character messages, or tweets, and follow the messages of other users on their Twitter feed. It is mainly used to communicate with other individuals with similar interests, regardless of whether users know one another off Twitter, and to follow updates from celebrities. Users can upload photos, share links and send private messages to people they follow.

Privacy settings
Facebook provides users the option of various kinds of privacy settings. They can have profiles that is open to everyone as well as settings that will make their profiles visible only to some friends who have been acknowledged. In addition, users can change the privacy setting on each individual post or for each individual friend. Thus Facebook is meant more for socialising with people that you know and want to socialise with.
Twitter on the other hand does not have too many options for privacy settings. It has only two privacy settings: public and private. Private messages can only be read by people who are being followed by the user. Individual messages cannot have different privacy settings, just one setting for the account.

Facebook has ads featured on it’s website. The ads change based on customer preferences. There is a certain amount of analytics done on the browsing history of the user. Facebook sells the user profile information to various companies.
Twitter does not have any ads featured. Twitter may sell user information to other corporations.

Twitter can be integrated with Facebook such that tweets can be posted to Facebook automatically.
Facebook can also be integrated into other websites, and Facebook login details can be used to access some other sites.
Twitter widgets can be added to a website or blog and can be integrated with Instagram. Some websites allow users to sign in using Twitter.

In conclusion , Facebook and Twitter are two completely different kinds of social networking and should be used based on what kind of communication that a user is looking for.

Pitfalls to watch out for before diving into Social media!

Social media is a very powerful tool and can help in providing invaluable insights about the customer. As helpful as it can be, when used without a specific plan or knowledge, it can rebound and have negative impacts. Hence it is very important to understand what not to tread on when embracing social media.

  1. No prior research :

A lot of companies get swept away in the wave of social media without sparing a thought of who, what, when and where questions that need to be answered to have a successful social media strategy. It is imperative to first “listen” using social media monitoring tools. This provides very useful data about customers, their needs, their issues, competitor products. Hence without efforts put into “listening” there are chances of missed opportunities in the areas of marketing, customer service, partnering, sales and public relations.

  1. No Accountability of social media:

When companied start developing their social media plans, key roles and responsibilities should be allocated and the ownership of the initiative should be clearly defined. Also the distribution of responsibilities should be keeping in mind all the parts of the organisation. Once the ownership is identified, the various departments should work in collaboration so that there is consistency in representing the brand.

  1. Failing to post and respond:

Most companies start off with a lot of enthusiasm on social media and slowly fade away. This sends out the wrong message to the public. In order to avoid this, the company should take care to post consistently by identifying the content writers, resources to listen and monitor. Brand recall is a very important aspect in business and it is of utmost importance to be in their radar through posts that meet their needs. It is also equally important to respond immediately to the customer’s queries or relevant comments since that would reflect sincerity and passion to serve their expectations.

  1. Digitally Unsavvy team :

In order to capitalise on the benefits of social media, the marketers need to understand social media themselves. The good part is that they can learn to be socially savvy through trainings, active participation and customer engagement.

  1. Data handicap :

Even though it is true that decisions should be data driven, one should not let data get in the way of creativity. Sometimes experience working in a certain situation is more valuable than data. It is important to recognise such situations and using discretion to decide when to decide solely based on data and when to use data just as an indicator.

  1. Lack of creative ideas:

Customer’s attention span can be very short lived if the posts and initiatives are not creative. Hence it is important not to get lost on just the technicalities of the social media. Time should be dedicated to bring in creativity through illustrations and videos which is driven on humour, motivation, inspiration etc.

  1. Not keeping a watch on competition:

It is not sufficient to manage just your campaign. Since almost everyone gets into social media nowadays, it is important to watch competitor’s every move and get inspired to come up with new innovative ideas to further leverage on social media.

  1. Getting discouraged by negative feedback:

There are high chances that when on social media the number of negative responses will almost be the same volume or possibly higher than positive feedback since there is no need to hold back on such platforms. Hence it is important to focus on quality feedback and constructive criticism rather than be hung up on the negatives. This would help in focussing on the right areas of improvement.

So before you dive deep down into the seas of Social Media, plan your goals and have a vision for the roadmap to success !

Inspirational Indian Social Media Campaigns !

The year 2014 saw some very interesting social media campaigns in India. I have chosen three that captured my attention.

1.Channel V “Know Your VQ” campaign

With the General Elections being the biggest event in India this year, Channel V came up with a unique concept of capturing the attention of nearly 27 million first time voters. This campaign, hosted on a site on channel V site, educates the voters on the basics of election and how they can exercise their right to vote.

It had a VQ meter to check the voter’s knowledge about elections which could be taken up using facebook or email. The kind of language and tone used in the campaign was that of double entendre and was quirky to appeal to the young voters.

The home page featured a cheeky video which would drive the young voters to watch it and share as well. 

Some of the bold eye catching phrases used were “It’s your first time, don’t sweat, enjoy it.”, “You won’t regret doing it.” “Use your finger.” To complement these there were some very interesting posters and illustrations.

The campaign was successful in not only reaching out to its target audience but also communicating it in a way which would make the whole process fun.

2. Omron’s “Your Voice Their World” campaign

This campaign was a CSR initiative by Omron in association with the National Association for the Blind. It was aimed at creating the world’s largest audio library of poems for the visually impaired. A website powered by Facebook login and mobile app was created so that anyone could access it online and contribute. It was designed in a way such that users could record a poem in their voice, upload a recorded poem or vote for poems uploaded by others.In a very short span of eight weeks the campaign was a big hit with about 2400 submissions.

Farhan Akhtar was roped in to be a brand ambassador for the campaign and it was supported by many eminent personalities. This campaign also won bronze at CLIO healthcare awards, which is the most recognised international competition for projects that explore the boundaries of creativity in any medium.

Encouraged by the huge support, Omron plans to run a phase two of the campaign. A brilliant idea to use crowd sourcing for a social cause!’s “Breaking Stereotypes” campaign

In a country with innumerable diversities, we are all victims to stereotypical perceptions about people of a certain community, state, gender etc. created a Breaking Stereotypes campaign that seeks to break the stereotypes. TrulyMadly is a modern day matchmaking website where matches are made using science and technology. It breaks the stereotypical way of matchmaking through horoscopes, religion, caste, language etc.

For the BreakingStereotypes campaign, the website ran a social experiment where it asked the youth to share some generalizations that they have faced. A large number of people opened up and some controversial generalizations faced by people surfaced on social media. These entries were reviewed and a gallery of some common stereotypes was put up.

In the present drastically changing times, this campaign seems to strike the right chord with the youngsters. It is a well aligned and targeted campaign that sends put a strong message against stereotyping. Hope this is our first step toward breaking the many many stereotypes in our society !