Admittedly, I’m not a math person. I’ve seen the equation to calculate ROI and have forgotten it just as quickly. I’ve read the articles and blog posts that make the case for the existence of social ROI, as well as the ones that say there’s no such thing. I’ve contemplated those instances in which someone has suggested that we can concretely put a price on a Twitter follower or a Facebook ‘Like.’
But alas. I am still a “words” person, and when I consider social ROI, I’m considering it with questions like “how many times is my blog post being read?” and “how many reactions is it getting on Facebook and Twitter?” I understand that all of this factors into social ROI, but from a purely content-based standpoint, those are my primary concerns.
And I’m sort of inclined to believe that we’re all concerned with those numbers, but to what degree? I’d say it varies by person, business, and purpose, and Altimeter outlines this fact in the infographic below (although social media related, it applies here)
Still, it’s nice to know that your content can serve a greater purpose; that it can be instrumental in moving a potential customer through the sales funnel. That there is a return on your investment.
Or influence. Or interaction.
This is where I think gating comes in handy as a useful part of your content development strategy, especially if you’re using social media to promote your content (and you should be).
Content gating is pretty much just what it sounds like. You’re taking a piece of content and requiring some action before it can be viewed. Typically this is some kind of measurable action, and when used properly, it can be a great strategy.
Just keep in mind that, like anything else, there’s a balance. Gate too much and you run the risk of no one reading it. They become missed leads and opportunities. Gate too little and it becomes difficult to measure how serious those leads are.
In this case, you have to give to get. If you have some kind of a download – a white paper or eBook, maybe – that is meant for top-of-the-funnel prospects, that could be a good piece of gated content. But people like to try before they buy, so keep your regular blog content opened up. Let them see the quality of work that you do so they know what they can expect.
After all, if your prospects find your blog content useful and relevant, they’re more likely to want to read more in-depth content from you. Not only that, but they’re more likely to hand over an email address to get it.
Which brings us to our next point: how complicated should the ‘gate mechanism’ be? Well, that all depends on how serious the lead is.
Content meant for top-of-the-funnel leads can be gated as simply as requiring a name and email address and perhaps some other basic information (think of HubSpot’s quick form for the marketing grader). A simple process for them, and for you, it means that you can plug this info into your CRM and begin actually tracking the lead.
Which, of course, means you can get a clearer picture of the ROI.
You might also ask them how they found you and your content. Did social media play a factor? Fantastic! More details to support your ROI. Now you have a better idea of your return on investment with Twitter, Facebook, or other social platforms.
For content generated with mid-funnel leads in mind, maybe you ask for some more detailed information prior to the download. And for those at the bottom of the funnel who are just about to convert to customers? Well, paid content is a popular option.
So if you are also more of a word person than someone who calculates equations, content gating is a good way to measure the ROI of your overall effort, from creation to social promotion, and finally to the point of sale.
Are you using content gating to help measure your social ROI? Have you found it effective?
photo credit: altimeter group