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Create a countdown to ROI success

Space - the Earth and Moon

In 1958, the United States launched its first satellite into space and within three short years, an American astronaut orbited the Earth. The 1960s, the US set their sights on landing a person on the moon. Before the end of the decade, Neil Armstrong's famous "one small step" saw that goal fully realized. But that wasn't the end. The last four decades have seen continued advancement with missions reaching to the edge of our galaxy and beyond. The recent landing of the Mars Rover 'Curiosity' has sparked the interest of a new generation, and as the Voyager 2 spacecraft nears the edge of our solar system, NASA continues to drive scientific progress and innovation.

Exploring new frontiers

Technology here on Earth has also advanced, and today agencies are faced with new options to market themselves using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Much like a rocket launch, a good marketing campaign requires a plan and a way to measure the success of that plan. A recent study of insurance agencies done by B.H. Burke and Co. found that nearly two-thirds were not measuring the success, or return on investment (ROI), of their social media marketing; and even more didn't know how to begin. It's time to take the next step and the best way to do that is to define your social media strategy, support it with appropriate content and measure your ROI with the appropriate metrics.

Much like a rocket launch, a good marketing campaign requires a plan and a way to measure the success of that plan.

Set a trajectory for success

Ideally, when you first started marketing your agency on social media you defined your purpose or at least considered what you what you wanted to accomplish. However, chances are that, like most companies, you did not. Measuring ROI should be unique to each agency, depending on marketing goals and desired return. Some agencies simply want to expand their fan base (likes, followers, etc.), others are looking to increase fan interaction, and others still are looking for something more tangible and traditional, such as leads or sales. Decide what is most important to you and how it will help your business, set a goal and focus on reaching it. It's also helpful to look at what you're doing now and how your page is functioning—you may simply need to expand or refine your current efforts. However you outline your plan, the most important thing is to maintain your effort through consistent, valuable content.

Don't just watch from orbit

Regardless of how you choose to measure success, providing consistent, valuable content will keep your fans engaged and help your page to continue growing. Look at what is creating the most engagement on your page and expand on that. If you need help, the Foremost Social Media Suitcase has plenty of ready-to-use content available that you can easily copy and paste to your page. If you have chosen to measure success on the number of fans, you're not off the hook. Just as quickly as people can opt in, they can opt back out if they feel they're not getting the value they were promised. If you're focus is leads and sales, engage your audience with interesting content and attempt to direct them to a contact or quote page on your company website. Once you have an active page and regularly engaged audience, begin measuring your defined success and determining your return on investment.

Launch, measure, repeat

Measuring your ROI is unique to both your defined success and the platform that you're using. Facebook makes measuring Likes and engagement very easy by way of Insights. Other pages, such as Twitter, may require you to use a third party application or manually capture information. Generating sales and leads from social media can be tricky and measuring it can be even trickier. Begin monitoring your website traffic using Google Analytics, if you're not already doing so. Google Analytics allows you to view which pages on your website are most popular and, most importantly, where the traffic is coming from. Facebook also has a conversion tracking function available for measuring the success of individual ads that are meant to increase sales and leads. There are also a number of companies which offer paid service plans to monitor and analyze your social media activity.

The frontier is never final

The most important thing is to define what success means to you—whether it's number of fans, level of engagement or generating sales and leads—and support your success by staying active and involved. In a perfect world you should be attempting to create a healthy balance by deploying tactics to increase your fans, regularly engage them, convert them to sales and continually measuring your success. The social media universe is still full of unknown territory. Each day brings new discoveries that can help you market your agency online—get out there, take the step, plant your flag and have a plan for what's next.

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