Using CRM to track the ROI of Social Media

I frequently find the insights of Radian6 employees to be forward-thinking and optimistic regarding social media. Not only that, but they also tend to be extremely analytical and technical in their approach. I met Amber Naslund (@AmberCadabra) in person this summer, and this recent article by Olivia Landolt (@livslandolt) shows me that the company hires those who truly understand the social media landscape.

Having worked in social media for 2 years now, with specific objectives in driving traffic, leads and ultimately revenue from social media marketing, I can only agree with Olivia that there can be a direct, positive ROI from investing in sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Below I've included snippets from Olivia's article on Radian6's blog. Particularly the aspect of tracking ROI that involves leveraging the source information in most Customer Relationship Management systems.

Ultimately, if you become diligent about tracking the source of the first contact, the first brand impression and/or the first point of engagement with a sales prospect, you can then track the sales lifecycle, average and total revenue, and much more. Getting leads from social media into your sales and lead tracking systems is critical to both driving results and proving that results occur.

Amplify’d from
In one corner we have those that firmly believe that there is a definite return on investment from social media, and in the opposing corner those that firmly believe that there isn’t.
Tracking sales resulting from social media doesn’t just help to justify the time or investment spent. It can also help identify what networks are the most valuable to a brand.
Going beyond awareness and likes and retweets, companies may also consider traffic resulting in inquiries or purchases that were directly fed through to their site from social networks, which can be determined using web analytics tools, paid for or free.
One of the first questions to ask should be how are leads tracked outside of social media? While some might use Excel, for large organizations this is likely achieved in the form of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. These CRM systems or (even spreadsheets) will host contact information, history and sales but also leads and the source for these leads. So when tracking ‘website’ inquiries one can just as easily track ‘social media’ or ‘Twitter’ as another lead source. This will make it easier to track new leads as a result of either a DM Twitter inquiry or a Facebook wall post through the sales cycle, starting at the point of entry. Analyzing this type of data at the end of the month will provide a clear picture of exactly how many leads the various social sources have generated, if they have closed and if so the amount of the sale.