If you are anything like the vast majority of marketing professionals in the industry, you have probably encountered the question, “How can we measure social media ROI?” This is a question that most Chief Marketing Officers (CMO), as well as all marketers, have tried to answer since social media has played a larger role in marketing campaigns. The answer is not simple, unfortunately. While there are a lot of measuring tools available (most even for free) such as Klout, Kred, Peer Index and HootSuite, the challenge still remains on how to break down all the data into quantitative results.

In a recent article on Forbes.com, this very topic is addressed. A survey was conducted by a Forbes Contributor from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business that involved more than 400 CMOs. One of the statistics showed that 49% of CMOs aren’t able to quantify if social media has made a difference for their business. The article continues to say that 15% have reported a proven quantitative result. To read the rest of the article on Forbes.com, click here.

Another resource, Six Pixels of Separation blog written by Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image, discusses the importance of strategy. Having a plan in place for any marketing campaign is crucial – not only for the overall success of the program, but for measuring the results. If you dive in without any set goals or means of measuring your success, to Mitch’s point – it will likely not produce the results you want and ultimately fail. Read the entire blog post from Six Pixels of Separation here.

Do a lot of the measuring tools out there lump your Twitter account in with celebrities and large corporate pages that have tens of thousands of followers? Sure. Is it likely that you will be right up there with your favorite super star? Probably not. Regardless, the data shouldn’t be ignored but should be used as a way to see how the needle is being moved. Our take on measuring social media ROI is simple – social media is still one component of an integrated marketing plan. At CCI, we use tools such as Visual.ly and HootSuite to grab the data available which allows us to continually review what our clients’ goals so we can make adjustments. These examples shouldn’t deter you from pursuing social media, if you haven’t already. Before you dive in, or even if you are reevaluating your current plan, we recommend that you have a strategy in place that integrates your efforts across all channels. Contact us for more information on how to accomplish this for your business.

We want to hear from you about measuring social media success. What works for you and what doesn’t? How do you find ways to analyze the data?