In our last blog – Measuring the Value of Social Media Marketing – I touched on the fact that social media marketing shouldn’t be held hostage by the need to measure ROI. It’s a marketing process and not an event. What I mean by this is that it takes time to build a following – whether this be fans, followers, or blog readers. It’s not going to happen overnight and it can take months and years to build this base to a point where it can ‘nurtured’ to yield any sort of measurable revenue. That said once that base is in place there are tremendous opportunities for social media marketing and establishing ROI.

Last year I attended SearchFest, one of SEMpdx’s marquee events, and there were two social media marketing case studies that caught my eye. One was Lion Brand Yarn, out of New York City and the other was Naked Pizza out of New Orleans.

Lion Brand Yarn uses their Facebook page for yarn promotions. Posting a discount for a particular product on their wall, exposes the promotion to their over 179,000 fans. According to their marketing director, they match the date of the wall post to their Google analytics to see the spike in site traffic. They then match this site traffic increase against their increase in sales for that day. While not a perfect measurement, they are able to see the increase in revenue and attach it to their Facebook post. The key to remember here, is that it took them a while to build a base of 179,000+ fans.

Naked Pizza discussed how they use Twitter to promote daily specials. With over 12,000 followers, Naked Pizza posts a daily special and provides a unique code that customers use to order. According to their marketing director, they can attribute nearly 50% of daily sales in certain locations to their Twitter promotions, and can track it using their codes. Again though… like Lion Brand Yarns, they had to work hard to build the base of their social media community before they could realize and track ROI.

So there are a lot of people that say measuring social media marketing efforts is difficult and to them I say… not really. What is difficult is convincing upper management that an effort needs to take place before it can be measured, and that’s building the community. Step one – build your social media presence. Step two – create social media marketing efforts using your established presence that can be measured.