With 88 per cent of marketers wanting to know how to measure ROI, according to the social media examiners 2014 report, it is important to know what you want to achieve in a social campaign, according to SocialBro founder Javier Buron at SMW London.
Hosting a session on where return on investment fits into a Twitter marketing strategy, Buron and his three panelists provided their tips on how to maximise their ROI, while also pointing out that the return may not simply be cost per lead or revenue.
Shift in perception, reduction in costs and visits to a site can all count as ROI, Buron added.
Be clear about what you want to achieve
The first tip from Buron is to take a look at what you want to achieve before launching a campaign.
He gives the example of a flash sale held by Rimmel London to celebrate 180 years of the brand. Through a promoted-tweet campaign, the brand offered fans products for £1.80 for 180 minutes.
Companies such as Tesco and Superdrug sold products on behalf of Rimmel, with Tesco selling out of Rimmel mascara in 20 minutes. Overall, Rimmel saw a 7.99 per cent rise in Twitter followers and 23,500 tweet engagements.
"This campaign had clear parameters and objectives, so led to a clear ROI," he said.
Look at the format of your tweets
Brands should think about the technical format of their tweets to help with ROI, stated Matt Owen, head of social media at Econsultancy.
"You need to take a look at what the best tweet you can send is to get the best conversion," he added. "Does it use a picture? What does it link to? What length is the tweet?"
He referenced research from Buddy Media, which has shown that the length of a tweet is important, especially if engagement is something a brand is looking to measure for ROI.
It was discovered that tweets between 71 and 100 characters get a 17 per cent higher engagement rate than tweets of any other size - with this length allowing tweeters space to retweet and add their own message.
Concentrate on the 'who'
To maximise the ROI you need to concentrate on who you are looking to reach, was the tip from Anna Jenkins, digital content manager at Visa Europe.
"Try to understand who your audience are, and use social in conjunction with other channels to reach them," she said.
There is a limit to the amount of "warm and fluffy" messages you can send to affect ROI, Jenkins added, while admitting it could help brands to get followers.
"There are some brands with great intentions, talking about cats and chocolate, but are they engaging with the right audience for their product?"
With Twitter data allowing brands to define their target audience, this can help reduce costs, as you don't waste time marketing towards those who are not potential customers.
Monetise your competitors' customers
Linked to the points made by Jenkins, Buron suggested that brands monitor the Twitter pages of their competitors, with Twitter targeting meaning a promoted tweet could be sent to those who follow a rival's brand.
"Try to steal their community," he joked, while pointing out that you already know competitors' customers require a service which you can provide.
He also proposed using social listening to target those who have taken to Twitter to say that they have been unhappy with the product or service provided by the competitor.
"Offer them a solution, be a hero and turn them into your own happy customers," he added.
Leverage your employees
The fifth and final tip, put across by Hootsuite's EMEA partner manager Rylan Holey, was to leverage your employees and tap into their network of followers.
Describing it as "the easiest way to maximise reach", Holey stated that employees of an organisation could have at least 100 followers that could be reached.
"Educate your employees on how to use social media and provide them with content to share. That's what we do at Hootsuite. Your employees are there for you, and can help increase your reach dramatically."
Jenkins agreed, adding that at Visa Europe, sometimes it is the case of a senior person responding from their personal account when a client or potential client communicates, in order to help engagement.
With recent research from Charterhouse finding that 73 per cent of ROI on European marketing spend goes unmeasured, there is a lot brands can do to ensure their full return from campaigns - be it monetary or site visits - is noted.