Social Media ROI: Rocket Science?

By Alessandra Ceresa

Now that there is a social media campaign in place, how can it be measured? Measuring social media return on investment (ROI) is a debated topic, and how a company can go about measuring depends on a couple different factors involving both quality and quantity.

ROI in social media is not just about counting the number of fans or followers

Success to some means the number of Facebook “likes,” and Twitter followers, while to others, the level of engagement, and a better brand identity. Regardless, a successful social media campaign must take into account all of the above plus passion, sentiment, and reach.

Measuring how many “likes” a page has is only one piece of the puzzle. Quality conversation and the types of relationships that are established are key to your social media campaign moving in the right direction – where your fans become the force behind your success, driving appeal and building a community for you.

David Alston, a social media expert said, “Social media is not media, the key is to listen, engage, and build relationships.” Listening, engaging, and building relations are abstract and do not have a metric formula or number attached to them, they are qualitative. When talking about ROI, it is important to answer some of the following questions:

  • Is the business/ brand engaging with followers? Is there a conversation going on that is not just about selling product?
  • Have relationships and dialogues been established that were not previously there?
  • Is the voice of your business being heard, and what are people saying about it?
  • Does your business have sentiment, passion, and reach? Sentiment, being the feelings that people have about your brand, passion, being the way they communicate the brand and how often they engage with you, and reach, being how many people are you reaching out to, or how many people are hearing about and engaging with your brand or business.  A successful social media campaign is strong in all three.

These questions will help aid you in building a comprehensive ROI strategy. Remember to count “likes”, mentions, @replys and retweets. Then determine whether these numbers have transpired into word of mouth and increased revenue, brand identity and image. If people are having conversations and engaging with a business online via social media, that business is most likely experiencing a positive ROI. A brand can have 1,000 “likes”, but if it is only the brand leaving posts and the faces of fans are not showing up posting in response or leaving comments all together, then there is really not a lot going on, and therefore no one spreading the word.

There is no exact formula to measure the success of a social media campaign, but there is something more powerful: real time responses and reactions to a business, something that was not available until the age of social media.





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