Many legal marketers are still confused about how to calculate return on investment for their social media marketing programs. When you first embarked on your social media journey, you may have started out without any concrete goal in mind beyond likes and shares. Those were the early currency on social media — a popularity contest of sorts that may have provided some good feelings but were awfully hard to quantify in terms of what they added to the firm’s bottom line.
As social media marketing has become more sophisticated, new ways of calculating ROI have begun to emerge. The growth of social media advertising has provided an easier way to quantify your efforts because you can measure the hard dollars you invested vs. how many people performed the action you wanted them to take with your ad.
However, it all starts with one thing: your goals.
- Determine your conversion goals.
There are a number of potential goals and actions you can choose from for your conversion goals, including:
- New followers/fans
- Filling out a contact form
- Signing up for an e-newsletter
- Downloading a free report
- Clicking on a link
- Video views
Make your goals as specific as possible — i.e., obtain 100 downloads of your free ebook from Facebook followers every month.
- Choose the platforms that serve your target market and complement your practice area.
In general, B2C attorneys will want to be on Facebook, while B2B attorneys will prefer LinkedIn. However, there may be opportunities for you on other platforms so dig deep into the demographic profiles of your client base and search for similarities among the social media networks. For example, if your practice targets women, you need to look into Pinterest. This Pew Research Center information will help you sort through this:
- Track conversions from each social media network.
Google Analytics is a free tool you can use to track your social media conversion goals by going to AcquisitionÙSocialÙConversions in your Google Analytics dashboard.
- Calculate monetary value of each conversion.
Using historical financial data, determine the average lifetime value for a client. If you have multiple practice areas, calculate lifetime value for each practice area. Example: If your average client value is $5,000 and you know that 1 in 20 people who fill out a contact form become clients, then the value of getting a visitor to fill out a contact form is $250.
- Measure total benefits by social media network.
Using Google Analytics, track your incoming traffic and conversion numbers for each social media network. Develop a spreadsheet that correlates that information to the total monetary value of each conversion.
- Determine your total investment by social media network.
While participating on social networks doesn’t cost you anything in terms of member fees, you are investing time and money in terms of labor costs, social media tools and advertising spend. If you have someone on your staff assigned to social media marketing, multiply their labor cost per hour by the number of hours they spent on the task — by month or by campaign, whichever you prefer. If you are working with a marketing agency, calculate their monthly fees.
If you have invested money into technology or apps to help you with your social media campaigns, add those costs. If your social media campaign includes advertising on Facebook or other platforms, include that amount. All these costs added up together will total your investment. Calculate your total investment by each social media network where you have a presence.
- Calculate your ROI.
To calculate your ROI, subtract your total investment costs (#6) from your benefits (#5) and multiply that number by 100, then divide that number by your costs. This will provide your ROI percentage. You will then be able to see which social media networks are providing you with the best return and can make the necessary adjustments to either improve the return or focus more efforts on the networks that are already providing you with the greatest benefit.
Social Media Intangibles
In addition to considering the hard numbers, you should also pay attention to some of the intangible benefits your law firm can be receiving due to social media. These can include:
Building your brand — social media provides you with an unfiltered platform in which to build your brand.
Cultivating a community — social media allows you to engage in a one-to-one dialogue with clients and prospects.
Repeat exposure — social media provides another avenue for you to get in front of clients and prospects repeatedly to reinforce your marketing messages.
Influence — through social media, you can spread your influence and build authority not only among your own followers but to people you may have not ever been able to reach when your followers share your message with their friends and family.
Drive traffic — social media is a great resource for driving traffic to your website, blog or a dedicated landing page to get prospects to take action.
Social proof — when prospects are researching you on the Internet, your presence on social media is a benefit in providing social proof of your relevance online.