It’s 2019 and way past time for social media to be considered a reliable, and measurable, communications channel. It has been a key marketing channel, and in some cases, the only channel, that businesses, organizations, and the government use to reach their audiences.

It’s time to ensure that the social media budget is returning a strong ROI to the marketing and operations of the organization. And because this key component of your business strategy is going to take more time and resources, you should definitely know all about social media ROI. Here’s a quick primer on how to establish social media ROI for your business.

Setting Your Goals

Defining what you want social media to do for your overall sales and operational goals is your first step. What are you trying to achieve?  More followers, more sales, increased traffic to your website, foot traffic to your brick and mortar operation? You must define these goals and make them SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Social media ROI boils down to how much you’re currently spending and how much your social media impact matters to your business right now.


Before you start measuring your social activities, you need to know where you’re currently at – better known as taking a benchmark of where you are starting. Here are some things you will want to know before you start your social media campaign.

  • Existing website analytics (i.e., visitors, referral links, SEO rankings, etc.)
  • Current customer satisfaction scores you are tracking as well as customer ratings on external directories (i.e., Facebook or Google My Business recommendations)
  • KPIs you currently track (i.e., cost of customer acquisition, advertising budget, and allocation, average sale, average sales per month, etc.) to see how these change over time
  • Social profiles numbers you already have (i.e., number of connections on LinkedIn, Facebook fans, blog subscribers and Twitter followers)

Understanding The Importance Of ROI

Review your social media channels daily and determine which social media channel is bringing your company the most revenue at present and why. Also, note areas in which you could improve. Monitoring these will enable you to make changes for the better.

Measuring Your Social Media

Armed with your social media goals, you need to measure your social media performance and be ready to A/B test content, imagery, promotions, etc. to find the optimum messaging that resonates with your target audiences.

Tie your results to business goals

The impact of your social media campaign should be measurable and tie back to the operational business goals of the company. The value and specifics of each link you share on social media should be trackable to your website, call center, CRM platform, public relations campaign, etc. This makes it easier for you to see which links are building traffic to the website, phone calls to the call center, increasing participation in events, or making donations. You should use an integrated marketing channel dashboard to ensure that you have a comprehensive look at all your marketing data into one easy-to-use report.

If you need help assessing your social media ROI, we can help. Contact me at



Recently I watched an online video for an organization with which I’m associated. The people who created the video are not “content developers,” nor are they social media experts. Yet, on their own, they managed to create content to deliver their very important message.

The decision to use online video is prudent. It’s can be one of the most effective and affordable ways to get out the message out about your brand.*

  • Product videos may increase purchases by 144%
  • 64% of consumers say videos on Facebook have influenced a purchase decision in the last month.
  • 32% of consumer engage branded video on YouTube

Thankfully, new technology and social media have democratized online content/video, and now what was once available to clients and their large agencies is accessible to almost anyone. This can sometimes be a problem if the organization is not familiar with video content development and how to create videos for social media consumption.

In the case with my associates, the video was too long, filled with too many facts, rambled on and worst of all it was boring. Since their expertise is in other areas, they missed the flaws that would be off-putting to a viewer.

An effective standard commercial is typically 30-seconds long and filled with information. A good commercial is not achieved haphazardly, it’s crafted. If you look a high-end TV commercial and an inexpensive online video, one thing they have in common are the guidelines from a briefing document. While there is no universal approach to a brief, if you answer the following questions in developing your content, you’ll have a better chance of achieving the results you want.

  1. What are you trying to achieve with the video? (brand awareness, drive traffic to the website)
  2. What is the business objective? (consumer acquisition, generate inquiries)
  3. What are the key takeaways from the video? (key benefits)
  4. Who are you trying to reach? (who are your customers)
  5. Why is this important to your target audience?
  6. Where will the video be seen? (social media, trade show, e-mail marketing, event)

Lastly, a luxury of posting a video on social media or website is that you are not constrained to 30-seconds, yet the attention span for online content is limited. The shorter the better and aim for a maximum of two minutes. A report from Video Brewery claims that a video will lose 60% of its viewers at the end of a two-minutes.

When you work on your next video, consider putting yourself in the place of your target audience and try looking at the content from their perspective.




If you’re looking for marketing techniques to create long-term brand loyalty or launch your company as the preferred brand in a competitive environment, you’ll want to use “social marketing” techniques that have proven to create long-term behavioral change. The terms “social media” and “social marketing” are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Social marketing is a marketing strategy, while social media is a marketing channel or tactic. Social media is used in a social marketing campaign to engage a target audience in making behavioral changes and reaching the goals of the social marketing campaign.

The Differences Between Social Media and Social Marketing

Social media is a communications channel. The most popular channels are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter. These channels are used to promote a brand through ongoing engagement and online conversations. It’s a common tactic used by marketers – and can also be used to help execute social marketing campaigns. Social media is a tool – one that requires a strategy behind it to be used effectively. That’s where social marketing comes in.

Social marketing is also referred to as behavior change marketing because its goal is to change or maintain a person’s behavior for the benefit of the individual or community as a whole. Most people remember the Crying Indian ad in the 1970s that was used for the Keep America Beautiful social marketing campaign. That campaign used television, billboards, and the potential for a ticket for tossing out litter on the highways as an intervention to change behavior. Another example of social marketing is the Stop Smoking campaigns that started in the 1990s. These campaigns were effective in showing the damage that smoking can do to your body and successfully changed behaviors of millions of people, by using TV and print ads to show photos and videos of unhealthy long-time smokers. Today, social marketing campaigns use a variety of TV, print and social media channels to communicate their behavioral change messages.

Using Social Marketing Techniques

If you are looking to change the behavior of your target audience to purchase your product, service, become a fan, or promote your organization, you can utilize social science that is the essence of social marketing. A successful social marketing campaign will provide you a deeper understanding of your target audiences behavior, demographics, and psychographics, which will allow you to hone your message to reach your target’s psyche and create a platform for long-term success.

Social marketing campaigns are organized into four stages: (1) understanding the target audience including the barriers to change (or make a decision) and the motivations that can encourage behavior change; (2) message development and testing; (3) outreach and interventions; and (4) evaluation.

After phase 1, personas are developed to simulate the various members of your target audience. These personas are critical to the development of your communications platforms and messaging. The next step is to create and test messaging to resonate with the target audiences. In this phase, you should use in-person or digital focus groups to test your messages with real people. When creating the messaging you have to consider all the triggers that are needed for someone to make a change, which includes the pleasure/pain points people go through when trying to make the desired change. The easiest technique to use is to develop messaging that frames the desired change as fun, easy and popular. Research in human psychology shows that people are more likely to adopt behaviors that they perceive to be fun (i.e. beneficial to them – what’s in it for me?), easy to accomplish (break it down into smaller steps) and popular (other people are doing it too).

Once the messaging has been tested and approved, it’s time to develop your marketing communications plan and define what channels will reach your target audiences most cost-effectively.

The last step in any marketing campaign is an evaluation. Ultimately, you will evaluate overall performance (i.e. how many people took the desired action) after the campaign ends, but you should also be A/B testing your messaging and channels throughout the duration. This real-time monitoring will allow you to pivot your message and tactical platforms quickly to achieve your desired results.

If you are looking for a deeper relationship with your target audiences and want to use systemic behavioral change techniques to build market share for your brand, contact me at rmarston@engagemarketing.bizto get started!


You’ve invested valuable time and money to develop and create your brand message, voice, visual implementation and solidify your “Why.”  And now you’re considering expanding your brand.  But are you ready and how do you make sure your brand stays true to its core values when it “moves away from home?”  Here are four important steps to consider when you’re planning to introduce your brand to new markets.

Stay True

Your brand story is your story; your voice is your voice; and, your purpose is your purpose. When you’re ready to expand – do not waver from the foundation you’ve built. It’s the brand foundation that will provide support, integrity, and guidance in your endeavor to build and replicate your brand successfully without dilution.

Know Where You’re Going

With expansion on the horizon, you must know where you’re going and where you’re growing.  Whether your expansion is geographical, product offering or both, do your research.  What does the market place look like? How does your offering measure-up or fit into the competitive set?  Does the market have a need for your offering or a desire wanting to be met? (There is a difference!) Whatever the research tells you, listen to it and approach your growth with that knowledge in hand and your brand positioning strong.

Talk to Your Audience

Get to know your target market demographically as well as psychographically.  Learn what is important to them socially, culturally and economically.  This deeper understanding of your audience will provide the ability to connect with them in a way that feels familiar.  Your brand position and platform does not change; however, sharing it in a way that resonates with them on an emotional level will provide the opportunity to grow an audience of brand advocates.

Establish Roots

Once your brand expands into its new market place, get involved. Establish and grow relationships with the community, influencers, potential partner brands, and like-minded businesses.  Your new brand location should feel just at home just as much as it does where it was originally established and with the same dedication to brand position, values, and voice.


A few years ago the NAHB and MetLife Mature Market Institute conducted a comprehensive study dedicated specifically to analyze where 55+ households live, the characteristics of their homes, communities, where they moved to and from, as well as other key demographic information.

The key findings of the study are quite interesting and are reminders that knowing what others, in this case, the 55+/AQ demographic, should not solely be based on historical behavior, if at all.  We are living longer. We are having children later in life. We are getting married more than once and having kids with each.  To put it plainly, the Baby Boomers of today are not like the Age Qualified for our parent’s era nor our grandparents

Did you know?

  • The majority of 55+ households do not live in age-qualified (i.e., age-restricted) or other communities occupied mostly by 55+ households.
  • Senior-related housing accounts for 8% for buyers 53 to 62 years old
  • One in five buyers aged 53 to 62 purchased a multi-generational home.
  • The share of households age 55+ is projected to grow annually, and to account for nearly 45% of all U.S. households by the year 2020.
  • Buyers 53 to 71 (Baby Boomers) made up the second largest generational group of home buyers at 32 percent.
  • The desire to be close to family and friends is often a driver for the 55+ households.
  • The share of 55+ single-family customers who work at home continues to rise and will increase the demand for office space inside the home.
  • Convenience to a job (46 percent), quality of school districts (33 percent), and distance to schools (31 percent) were a few of the most important factors to buyers 38 to 52 years. (Important to know because of the multi-generational living and aging-in-place homeowners)

Links to 55+/Age Qualified resources used:

Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report (NAR)

Housing Trends Update for the 55+ Market