Savvy business owners and marketers understand the importance of tracking the ROI. Digital has made this calculation even easier with tools like automated conversion tracking and integrated marketing. But in addition to traditional ROI, there is another metric organizations should track: ROC, or Return on Community, a measure of how many members of a digital audience are converted into customers, brand advocates, donors, and supporters.
You can’t track what you don’t know
To measure a Return on Community, you first need to know the individuals that make up your digital community. Your followers are real people searching for recognition, value, and a genuine connection. Are they getting that from their interactions with your brand? To begin cultivating a relationship with them, take the time to get to know them and their motivations.
To that end, engagements with digital community members should be monitored and tracked. In sales, a quality CRM goes a long way to ensure you never miss a lead or follow up. Similarly, organizations that track their digital audience members in a digital CRM unlock a multitude of new opportunities to engage with and, eventually, convert followers into new customers and supporters.
Social media should move at a conversational pace
Before we can turn followers into customers and supporters, we have to get them to engage. First impressions matter, but so does every subsequent impression. On top of publishing relevant content that motivates followers to click the like button, leave a comment, or share the post, brands should work to impress a real sense of community people are eager to become part of.
71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend that brand to their friends and family members. While a significant finding, having a truly positive experience with a brand online is rare. Often, brand accounts are one-way operations: Content gets posted, followers interact, and then nothing else happens.
That’s not a positive experience. In fact, it’s not really an experience at all. Cultivating a digital community requires treating followers online like you would a valued customer in-person. Ask yourself, how do they feel after interacting with us?
If a comment isn’t responded to in real-time, you’re missing an opportunity to establish a new, genuine connection. If a website-generated lead goes unanswered, that potential sale is lost. And if a message, DM, or email gets left on read, there’s a user on the other side feeling inspired to take their business elsewhere.
If social media is supposed to be social, then why do so many brands fail to keep the conversation going? The only way to ensure a strong Return on Community is to be engaged in your digital community, responding to comments, striking up conversations, providing real value, cultivating meaningful relationships, and building a community that contributes directly to your organization’s goals. At the end of the day, your efforts to build a digital community should yield tangible results.