Soft ROI and Hard ROI strategies at Treehaven, by Anne Williams

I was hired on in January 2017 as a media specialist (very limited, part-time basis at 8 hours a week) for Treehaven, UW-Stevens Point’s College of Natural Resources field station located between Tomahawk and Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Most of my tasks include managing the Facebook page, website, Eventbrite online registration for public programs, and sending monthly e-newsletters through Constant Contact.

Using recommendations outlined in the book, “Social Media ROI,” by Olivier Blanchard, as well as a list of online resources provided by class instructor Cheryl Vann, I would select the following tools and steps to monitor and measure SOFT ROI and HARD ROI to ensure I am on target with the goals of my Treehaven ROI strategy:

Measuring Hard ROI

I would first track and label a monetary value to every resource assigned to the following Treehaven categories:

  • Personnel: Track salaries and hourly wage of all staff who manage Treehaven’s social media page and/or website.
  • Technology: Find out how much was spent on a new computer, server, software, licenses, software, bandwidth, office lighting, and security/maintenance for staff who work with social media at Treehaven?
  • Time: Track how much time was spent by each employee conducting social media Treehaven outreach.
  • Miscellaneous: Record any travel to and from UW-Stevens Point or Wausau related to program/facility outreach.

Next, I would next calculate the hard ROI for each Spring 2017 public program that was held at Treehaven, as well as each conference or meeting held at Treehaven (including lodging). I would use the following calculation:

ROI = (gain form investment – cost of investment) / cost of investment

Each public program held at Treehaven in Spring 2017 and each conference/meeting would have a specific monetary value assigned to it, which would allow me to calculate the hard ROI.

Measuring Soft ROI

Step 1: Establish a baseline.

I would set January 22, 2017, as my baseline because that is when I started my position at Treehaven.

Step 2: Create Activity Timelines

I would create a timeline of everything Treehaven has done that might impact Treehaven’s Spring public programs and/or facility usage (Treehaven is also a conference center with available lodging) on nonfinancial outcomes.

Step 3: Monitor the Volume of Mentions

I would measure how many times Treehaven’s name is mentioned across the Web.

Currently Treehaven is signed up for Google Alerts; however, I have so far only been alerted to a “Treehaven” apartment complex in need of renters in a different state.

Online monitoring tools I will potentially use:

  • Hootsuite
  • Social Mention
  • Mention

I will also measure the mix of sentiment from these mentions, such as how many times Treehaven was mentioned in a positive context, and how many times it was mentioned negatively.  This is where Search Engine Marketing has its benefits: brand recognition

Step 4: Measure Transactional Precursors

I would track all of the nonfinancial outcomes since Jan. 18, 2017:

  • Number of Facebook followers.
  • Volume of updates per day
  • Number of “likes” per day.
  • Number of “likes” per update.
  • Number of comments per day.
  • Number of comments per update.
  • Number of “shares” per day.
  • Number of “shares” per update.
  • Number of click-throughs (inbound via Facebook)
  • Other activity on Facebook (discussions, downloads, event RSVPs).
  • Use Google Analytics to track the number of daily visitors, unique visitors, and number of views to the website per day.
  • Use Google Alerts to measure the volume of mentions (brand an assorted keywords) across channels, including:
    • General praise for Treehaven
    • General complaints about Treehaven
  • Response to e-newsletter (Constant Contact)
  • Response to Eventbrite (online registrations)
  • Average buy-rate/frequency of transaction per public program.
  • Average yield/dollar amount per public program.

Step 5: Look at Transactional Data

Here I would track how much money each public program at Treehaven brought in and how much revenue came in from conference users/lodging.

Step 6: Overlay the Data onto a Single Timeline

I would create a graphic that displays my baseline, activities, social data, web data, analytics, nontransactional data, and financial outcome data.

Step 7: Look for patterns

I would look for patterns to see what potential impact of Treehaven’s social media program has on its revenue stream. After analyzing this, my hope is that it will point me in the right direction in making corrections or continuing to follow a specific strategy.

Step 8: Prove and Disprove Relationships

I would look for ways to show a correlation between a Facebook campaign and a public program or increase in facility users.  I would look for ways to connect the dots using data as proof.

Advantages of Search Engine Marketing

According to, there are four main advantages to paid Search Engine Marketing:

  • Cost Control: One can work within a specific budget and decide which keywords you want to use to target potential Treehaven users.
  • Targeting: One would be able to control who could see Treehaven’s ads.
  • Direct ROI: One could collect data from the paid search results allowing that person to directly link marketing dollars to returns.
  • Instant: As soon as a campaign is paid for, placements are supposed to happen instantly.

1 Comment

  1. Anne,
    I really like your ROI Strategy. Especially how you are tracking the following Soft ROI, Personnel, Technology, Time and Misc. Breaking it down into steps will really allow a Director, VP or President see where their/your social media/campaign efforts are helping their brand in these areas and how to enhance these efforts or what to change to have a successful outcome.

    Mic Drop!


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