How to REALLY Measure the ROI of Social Media

Social media ROI

This is a guest post by Eugene Farber.

“How do you measure the ROI of your social media efforts?”

It’s a question being discussed ad nauseum of late, and rightfully so. Social media investment is a legitimate issue that businesses have to face, now more than ever. So, being the problem solver that I am, I decided to figure out how to measure the ROI of social media once and for all.

The quick answer is there is no answer!

If you want a long-winded explanation, read on.

Enough “Whys” Already!

For my first stop on the way to figuring out how to complete this elusive calculation I went to all of the usual suspects.

What I discovered actually got on my nerves a little bit. There were no concrete answers. For all of the promises of “how-to” in the titles, all I got was “why.”

Why you need a strategy before entering the realm of social media.

Why you should use social media to begin with.

Why you should measure the ROI of your social media campaigns!

…OK great! But how?

Some Actual Value…

Luckily my next stop resulted in some actual numbers. This was it! I was finally going to figure it out!

To prove that social media provides a great return on investment (if used properly) The Next Web published 10 case studies on the ROI of social media. These are gleaming examples of social media done right. Case studies which every company should take as an example and follow suit.

Social media management firm Syncapse took it one step further. They recently conducted a study and concluded that the average Facebook fan is worth $136.38.

Now I just have to figure out how to get a lot of Facebook fans and I’m ready to retire!

The Caveats

The Syncapse study is utterly useless. To perform the study they used a selection of companies that are not representative of the average small business. Even Syncapse, within the study, states that no two fans are the same. Well no two companies are the same either. There are too many variables to make the $136.38 figure mean anything significant.

Plus, that takes care of the return part. What about the investment?

Facebook costs

Sure Facebook is free, but someone has to run the page and the campaigns on there. How many man-hours does it take to keep those campaigns working. How many man-hours does it take for large companies like Starbucks to keep the customer engagement going?!

The “ROI from Facebook Ads” case study mentioned on TNW (originally published on Search Engine Journal) begins to explore the actual investment part of the calculation. But they still fall short.

The dollar cost of Facebook ads still doesn’t tell me what the REAL investment was. Hours of research to figure out how Facebook ads work? Keyword research? Ad design? Maybe even hiring a consultant to do the work for you?!

Strictly measuring ROI in terms of dollars spent on ads doesn’t really give you a true representation.

Attempting an Actual Measurement…

A recent post written by Jay Baer of Convince&Convert is probably the best summary of actual ROI measurement I’ve seen. The post focuses on the ROI of blogging but can be extended to any social media activity (and really any activity in general).

The first step is to identify what activities you (or your company) is performing and what it costs. Consider all costs including salaries, direct expenses and overhead. If you want to get really fancy (and I know you do) you may want to take into account the opportunity cost of time spent on these activities and what you could be accomplishing with those resources.

Once you have an idea of what your costs are you need to figure out what the return on those activities is. To do this you need to figure out what your revenue-producing actions are (what behaviors your customers can exhibit to drive revenue). Is it blog subscriptions? Is it opt-in subscriptions? Are you just focusing on sales?

As you can see the actual calculation is simple, but not easy. There are many variables to consider and the outcome of your ROI test greatly depends on which factors you focus on.

For larger companies the ROI becomes even more of an estimate because overhead allocations are often subjective. This also means that departments have to get together and interact (i.e. marketing and accounting departments). And how often does that go smoothly?

But even if you do get of that straightened out, it may be impossible (or at least very inaccurate) to measure true ROI in a short-term time frame.

Are We Asking the Right Question?

Thank You EconomyGary Vaynerchuk has made a hugely successful business through social media engagement. He has made an even bigger business by promoting the idea of social media engagement.

As he points out in his book The Thank You Economy, it is the businesses that don’t begin to engage with their customers on a personal level that will fall to the wayside.

People born today are born in to a world that is connected more than ever before. By the time they are consumers they will expect connecting and interacting with businesses to be easy.

This may sound ludicrous, but Gary V believes it to be true. And who am I to argue with Gary V?

My grandmother never had a computer.

My parents are now using the internet for purchasing, yet they tend to stay away from the social network scene as much as possible.

I am in my mid-20s, on the cusp where the social media outbreak occurred.

My kids will be born into a world where the President of the United States having a town-hall meeting over Twitter would be a thing of the past (the effectiveness and legitimacy of said meeting is a debate for another day).

The evolution is clear. And in a world that is evolving faster than ever before, maybe our questions should be evolving as well.

Are We Measuring the Right Metrics?

Maybe the answer to the question is no. Maybe the ROI on social media engagement doesn’t even matter at this point.

Perhaps it isn’t the ROI of social media we should be measuring, but rather the LOLOI – the loss on lack of investment (yeah…I just made that up).

How many potential customers might you be losing if you aren’t engaging in conversation with them? What if your competitors are engaging them? People would rather buy from people they like and can relate to. With social media even the biggest corporations can become more personable.

So at this point the wiser question might not be “what is the cost of implementing a social media strategy?” but rather “what is the cost of not implementing one?”.

A Learning Curve

In truth the investment, and the return, does matter. It doesn’t make sense to pump resources into social media if you can’t afford it. If all of your resources are getting sucked up by social media and not enough are being put into actual business operations then you have a serious problem on your hands.

But it is important to note that social media tools are just that…tools. And the magic isn’t in the tool, but rather how you use it. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, but it does take some practice.

There are certainly learning curves when it comes to using social media. And each individual and business has its own.

But it may be a good idea to get in now, while it is still early, to perfect the craft before it becomes an absolute necessity.

The Conclusion

There may not be a simple answer to measuring the ROI of social media because there are too many variables. And each individual and company needs to figure out which of those variables they need to focus on.

There is definitely no blanket one-size-fits-all answer. But just because it may not be easy to measure the ROI of social media, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attempt it.

Go for it. Play around. Test different variables. Finagle some numbers.

And remember…the ROI of social media might not even be the right thing to measure.

Eugene FarberAbout the author: Eugene Farber is an accountant turned internet entrepreneur. He blogs about internet marketing, business and life at Reality Burst. Visit his site today for a free Social Media ROI checklist, and connect with Eugene on Twitter @EugeneFarber.

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  1. says

    If you want to measure the return on investment from social media marketing, then I ask you first to provide metrics on your ROI from using email, or from a dozen people around a table in a staff meeting when only one person talks, or from paying your employees to commute into the office and stare at computers all day when you can save that overhead from enabling telecommuting, or from sending original documents through a fax machine when the receiving transmission is hardly original.

    Show me the ROI there, and I’ll show you the ROI from writing a comment on a blog.

  2. says

    @Ari Herzog Did you just come straight from Scott Stratten’s most recent post, Ari? 😉

    Email marketing is still one of the most effective forms of any measurment. If it’s “just” an email, you can gauge by reaction as to its effect (did you write off for a job and get it? Did you pitch and get it? etc…).

    The commute one is easy – we use work-at-home contractors on some of our projects, and we know how much that saves on a project’s overheads, compared to if we had to pay taxes and insurance and office equipment for the contractor.

    The argument of “show me the ROI of this” unfortunately doesn’t fly too well when meeting with Chief Finance Officers at organizations, or potential clients looking for some measurement on what they’re about to pay you for your service.

  3. JustinKownacki says

    NO WE ALL KNOW IT IS ONLY FOR SALES YOU ARE SILLY.

    Sorry, I mean, the only true value of social media, advertising, customer service or basic human decency is in sales, or the number of units moved per interaction. Anything else is socialism.

    Wait, no, I mean, social media is what you make of it.

    Yeah, that’s it…

  4. ramartijr says

    I truly believe that asking what the ROI of social media is….is the wrong question. It is like asking ” what its the ROI of a telephone line. Connecting with customers and growing business are fundamental. Social media is just a tool.. Like a telephone that can help facilitate that connection by facilitating two way communication more effectively, more openly and more efficiently than the telephone. If we done open our doors through social media, we may as well not open doors to potential clients….or not greet them when they do come in. For that matter, not answer the phone when they call. Oh, wait, some of us do that already with voice mail.

  5. says

    @ramartijr True, Rich. Although to be fair, social media and the various options we have from it (vanity URL’s, blogger outreach, mobile apps, integrated campaigns) do make it a heck of a lot easier to measure than an ad in a newspaper.

    But, for sure, it all depends on the people at the end of the tool.

  6. says

    @ramartijr I think it all depends on your business and who your customers are. I was just recently talking to someone who runs a B2B fragrances company and they are doing quite well with absolutely no social media engagement.

    That’s not to say that they couldn’t benefit from it. Because I think they absolutely could…which I told him.

    But the customer is where the real focus should be. Like I mentioned in a previous comment here before…if you’re target audience is someone like my grandmother, then your investment in social media should be exactly $0.

  7. says

    @DannyBrown The reason this is such a difficult question to answer is that it isn’t a straight line. Sales from social activity are akin to the “Butterfly Effect”; a blog post over here, causes a Tweet somewhere else and before you know it you just helped to sell a copy of the Thank You Economy for garyvee

    All the tracking in the world isn’t going to work that one out!

    We are not measuring the right metrics for sure. We don’t even know what metrics to measure just yet. Sentiment? Maybe, but we still can’t read that too accurately.

    The key for me is having the right people involved in the social effort within the business. Then the investment thing isn’t such a great issue. If you use people that love what they do and show them how to channel that passion out toward the customer, that’s just great service, and Social Media is just a channel.

    Who remembers the web in the late 90’s? There were naysayers back then “We don’t need a website!”. You couldn’t measure things too accurately, log files! But what business would not have a web site now?

    Pioneering takes faith, hope and a bit of gut instinct. If the company you’re pitching too or working for won’t do Social Media because they can’t see the ROI, move on if you believe in it, I think you’ll be making the better decision.

  8. says

    @seanEclark@DannyBrowngaryvee That’s true. And even if you try to measure an ROI you have to chose specific metrics. Which means you’ll be ignoring others. And how do you even know which metrics to chose to begin with?

    It becomes a matter of trying to measure causality through statistics. And as we all know, there’s lies, damn lies and then there’s stats :)

  9. says

    You make a really good pt in that it’s hard to draw a straight, measurable line from social media engagement to purchase to referral to repeat customer. There are just so many touch points and influences that sometimes the funnel cannot be defined and measured: the influence of weak ties, a negative review from a friend over lunch, etc But then businesses have always struggled with measuring the impact of an outreach effort directly to sales. It also depends on where you begin your measurement; does it start at the conference, where you gave your card away, which they later used to email me you or a visit to the corporate web site after a tip from a colleague or peer. Both may end up in sale but how do you measure that path?

    Thanks for the great post!

  10. says

    @Collectual You know, I’ve never really thought of a business card as being social media. But it really is, isn’t it? It’s a written media item for the purposes of being social with someone. I like it! :)

  11. says

    I LOVE DISCUSSING METRICS!

    Thanks for the great post Eugene

    I find the biggest failure when looking at Social Media ROI is the Opportunity Cost. Most Advertising and Marketing people are not economists or finance folks (I’m Finance). I always ask the question of what would be my return if I invested the money elsewhere. Everyone knows for personal branding the power of Social (see Gary V!) but for a big business it is more complicated. That money can go into everything from other forms of advertising/marketing, to paying employees more (moral booster), better operations (cost savings), Direct Sales, Quality Assurance, Customer Service etc. So it competes with a lot more than banner ads or TV.

    The problem with Social Media for a big company is reach. Today 9 of 10 US consumers can not be reached on Facebook. If I have 100mil or 1 bil customers what will I get from Social that helps my presentation to the Board who all are watching the stock price. I clicked the Next Web link and only reviewed the 1st example of Social vs Banner ads and I said really? Banner ads have poor performance as it is. And when you use terms like ‘This % better’ without saying ‘Better than what’ to me that is marketing mumbo jumbo. The CFO wants concrete numbers.

    This is really the problem with Advertising and Marketing. It is really hard to measure what is going on.

    Now that I am looking at the rest of the NextWeb time to make them suffer from their dubious claims. I will tell them Eugene sent me! LOL

  12. says

    @HowieSPM I got your back Howie!

    Opportunity cost is huge for me too.

    I think it’s even more of an issue for smaller businesses that don’t have an unlimited bank account than it is for large ones. Small businesses have to decide what to spend their resources on, and if they make a mistake it will have a bigger effect on them than it would on a Fortune 500.

    I think social media outlets have a much lower opportunity cost in terms of actual dollars (although it takes more time to be active than to stick a billboard somewhere).

    I was talking to a girl the other day who worked for a massage oil company. The owner of the company spent nearly $40,000 on radio advertising that got him nowhere!

    Can you imagine how much exposure a properly created Facebook ad can get you for $40k??

    I think social media is a great alternative for small businesses that can’t buy Super Bowl ads. Focus on operations first, and do some social marketing. Sure it takes time, but you have to suck it up and do it.

    I’m going back and forth on this post aren’t I? :)

  13. says

    @seanEclark Sean I really like your straight line comment. Marketing is the only department in a business with no straight line. Every other business function has them and they are all very highly measurable. And for a big company imagine the fighting in the marketing depart to get credit for sales. It was TV! No it was the Web Store front! No it was our Facebook page!

    And while I bash on the hype and over promise sometimes to the Nth degree, I will never tell someone that getting a devoted brand ambassador is not of value. Or that a quick tweet to help a customer doesn’t save on an 800 line’s cost.

  14. ramartijr says

    @EugeneFarber Yes Eugene. It is about the engagement with the customer. I am increasing surprised though… that age has less to do with participation then I would have guessed. I know older folks who love to play in social media, and some young friends who could not be bothered.

  15. says

    @EugeneFarber love your comment Eugene. One issue I have with my industry is since most agencies often focus on a segment (say radio) because of the incentive for revenue it is easy to tell someone ‘buy more radio’ vs let’s look at where is best for our money. And you are right small businesses often can’t afford such mistakes nor do they have someone in marketing to look after them. I also think marketers at big companies get away with lot’s of waste just because it is the norm vs the exception.

  16. says

    @ramartijr Agreed, it’s not necessarily about age. But about knowing specifically who your customer is (which can be pretty difficult to do).

    My grandmother for instance is a Soviet immigrant who has never owned a computer. She lives in a building with like people. If you’re targeting them, you probably don’t even need a computer yourself :)

  17. says

    Thanks Eugene. Good stuff here, and I appreciate the kind words. In truth, it’s not often as easy as I made it sound in my blog post, due to the “butterfly effect” articulated in the comments. That’s why I typically work with clients to create correlation studies to better gauge the overall impact (if not true ROI) of social media. We track as many things as possible – business metrics, Web metrics, customer satisfaction metrics like Net Promoter Score, ad campaigns, PR hits, social metrics, and then use regressive analysis and common sense to try to isolate which activities are leading indicators for business success. It’s not fool-proof by any means, but typically separates wheat from chaff enough to do credible resource planning (which is really what corp execs want to use ROI for anyway).

    The challenge, however, is that type of analysis takes a lot of work. And eventually the question becomes “what’s the ROI of measuring ROI?”

  18. says

    @JayBaer You’re very welcome Jay. I’m a regular reader (although I need to get more involved int he discussion, I know).

    I love the question you post at the end. “What’s the ROI of measuring ROI?” I wish I would have came up with that myself for the Asking the Right Questions section :).

    I think ROI measurements are really an exercise for larger corporations who feed on stats and metrics like it’s cheese cake (I love cheese cake!). The smaller guys need to focus their resources on operations and actual marketing, rather than measuring their marketing efforts.

    Of course sometimes that leads to a shoot first, aim second approach. But you gotta do what you gotta do. :)

    Thanks for contributing to the discussion!

  19. says

    Hey Eugene,

    I’ve often thought about assessing the ROI of social media. I’ve never been able to find anything that made me think that “this or that is the formula”.

    In my eyes, somethings are flat impossible to assess a true ROI of. I could never give a true ROI of my cell phone…there’s no way. I can connect to anything from it and it allows me to increase my productivity. I’ve always thought of social media along the same lines…not being easy to fully understand its ROI.

    HOWEVER! Man – you did a great job sharing some ways to get a good gauge of the effectiveness of social media efforts.

    Danny – thanks for hosting this guest post by Eugene. I hope things are well for you up north!

  20. Swirl_cakes says

    @Inkling_Media thanks for the insight. I’ve landed several accounts as a result of SM…for the time vs payoff factor well worth it.

  21. says

    @Jk Allen I don’t think your cell phone is worth the investment Jk, toss it out :). I totally get what you’re saying, and I’m with you along the same lines of thinking. It’s incredibly difficult to decide which metrics you should measure before you even start.

    And for individuals and small businesses intuition may be the best gauge of which social media outlets you should be using (if any at all).

    I know someone who HATES Facebook but says LinkedIn has been working for her. She wanted to know if I could set up a Facebook page for her.My instant reaction was “Why?! You just said you hate it, and LinkedIn is working for you!”.

    There are so many options that sometimes your intuition or personal preferences can decide the “ROI” for you.

  22. says

    Ack. I see much that I agree with mixed with much that I don’t. I feel muddled.

    Having read Olivier Blanchard’s book, “Social Media ROI,” I can’t see what all the fuss is about. This isn’t rocket science. It’s just new business processes/initiatives being evaluated like any other business metric.

    WHY is perhaps the MOST IMPORTANT question to ask. WHY is the business/client considering the use of social media in the first place? WHAT do they want to achieve? Before anyone can advise HOW to use social media, they need to know WHAT the client wants to do with it.

    *You figure ROI on a print ad with a coupon which will be forcibly stuffed into every mailbox on the block (and immediately recycled), why can’t you figure ROI on a Facebook campaign with a discount code?

    *You figure ROI on a new brick-and-mortar, guestimating how many transacting customers will walk through the door, but you can’t figure ROI on your own blog where you know exactly how many people visit and buy?

    *You spend millions buying a fancy new system to herd your customers through automation hell before they get to your powerless, level 1 representative, and you can figure out how that reduces costs, but you can’t figure how having a team of tactical customer service/sales ninjas on Twitter who can both solve problems and close deals stands to do not only that but also increase revenues?

    GET OUTTA TOWN. HAHA.

    When you know where you are in relation to where you want to go, THEN you’re ready for conversations surrounding WHAT your objectives are, HOW you will drive them – with whatever tools – and HOW to measure your progress.

    WHY some people can’t readily communicate that just leaves me wondering how they manage to stay in business in the first place. I mean, what the hell, ya know?

  23. says

    @Brian Driggs I do know! And I agree. It’s all about figuring out your objectives: what you are trying to accomplish, why you are trying to accomplish it, and who you are trying to accomplish it with.

    But, unfortunately, that seems to be the hardest part of this whole thing. Do you measure how many friends you have on Facebook? How many followers you have on Twitter? There are so many options, and you really need to drill down on it.

    Once you figure all that out, then it’s just a matter of plugging in some numbers into an equation.

  24. says

    @EugeneFarber As a former salesman, I’d say yes, you do measure your FB friends, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, and such, just like to keep track of how many times you dial that phone, how many times you get through, how many times you get hung-up on. You figure out the trend and you track that trend so you can evaluate your performance – but only insomuch as that sort of thing keeps you driven to perform. And only when you’ve got a horse in front of that cart.

    If I know my average Facebook fan is worth $5 in my pocket, then I know picking up 100 more fans stands to potentially net me $500 in my pocket. I need to bear in mind WHY anyone would want to become a fan and seek to authentically build that fanbase (as opposed to the sadly popular trend of buying fans), but if I can provide sufficient value to people to gain their loyalty and convert a consistent percentage of them to paying customers, then yes, I’m going to count my fans to keep me motivated to continue serving that audience.

    There are myriad options available, but my point was that the business needs to layout what they want to accomplish BEFORE they start any of this.

  25. says

    @DannyBrown Heh. I didn’t think unmarketing would mind my borrowing our shared brainwaves on ROI in the enterprise. When I interviewed ckras on my blog in 2009 about the U.S. Defense Department using social media, he also referred to analogies with the fax machine and email. It’s a common experience.While it’s true there comes a point ROI has to be answered in one particular way, it’s also true that the answer can differ depending on the role you are talking to and the industry the role is part.

  26. HectorAvellaned says

    Eugene what’s up man! Dude, what an awesome post, man! Not too many posts out there impress me but let me tell you that this one did!

    I’ve never read Gary’s book but it is definitely on my to do list. I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews on it but I dont let that scare me. Everyone has their own perspective.

    I love what you had to say about whether we are asking the right question or nor in regards tot he ROI of Social Media marketing.

    This kind of ties over with the discussion we were having over at my blog where i mentioned that Business is an Art and not a Science. Well, I would also apply that to Social Media.

    What works for me won’t necessarily work for you because everyone is unique.

    You seem to agree with this logic because in one of your sentences above you mentioned that when “social media is done right” X results are achieved…

    In this case, X is the YOU factor. How well can you execute on the marketing strategy, how well is your story making in impact on your target audience, Are you targeting a niche audience, how involved is your audience in your vision, etc. All of these are questions and factors that make up the X variable and unfortunately there are so many that I cannot list them all here.

    I think you’re definitely on the right track though and you;re definitely thinking outside of the box when it comes to what are the metrics that we are using to test results and what are the questions that we should really be asking.

    You;ve got me thinking about this one, Eugene and I love it when someone can leave me in this kind of mode!

    Awesome post man!

  27. says

    @HectorAvellaned Thanks Hector!

    This whole ROI thing has so many variables it’s insane. And @JayBaer said it perfectly in a comment below, eventually the question becomes “what’s the ROI of measuring ROI?”

    I think garyvee ‘s books will always get mixed reviews just based on their popularity. Similar to Tim Ferriss. Anytime he comes out with a book he’ll usually split people in half, you either love it or you hate it. I prefer to read with an open but critical mind and pick out the things that make sense to me.

  28. OnlineBusinesVA says

    Most of the small companies are still blissfully ignorant of ROI influence on customer choice of products/services. This should help them know that you can no longer ignore FB, Twitter or Youtube while planing their marketing strategy.

    Online Business Virtual Assistant

  29. Worob says

    Good post, Eugene. I’m speaking on a similar topic at a conference next week and you’ve driven home a lot of points that I intend to bring up. Reiterating a bit on what you said, completely agree that there is no magic formula to success and success metrics vary (or at least they should) from brand to brand.

  30. Yogizilla says

    @EugeneFarber You got it, bro! Remember: when I come up to NYC next time, we got to hang and have some brewskies. 8)

  31. Yogizilla says

    Awesome piece here, Eugene!

    I feel the biggest take-away is that the over-used concept of ROI tends to put us in a mindset that focuses on the ‘ol numbers game. It’s all about selling more, getting more traffic, filling up funnels, blanketing the marketplace, and blah blah blah… But that means we often overlook relationships.

    (LOLOI – I dig!)

    When I am on the consumer side of the business equation, I like to feel valued. I don’t want to feel like another number. For that, there are plenty of other alternatives, right? When the owners of a company reach out to me, I feel like a VIP. sharelomer and Kelly of twylah are two people that come to mind when I think of this. Heck dino_dogan

    and dancristo

    are great examples too!

    (LiveFyre apparently does not like when I use Opera. Ha)

    Each of these wonderful folks has their own approach to social media and some are clearly more active and engaging than others.. but they make sure they at least greet everyone whenever possible. That simple little effort goes a long way.

    What we take for granted is the fact that our customers may very well be on the fence, no matter how great our services and products are. That simple “hello” via Twitter or your social platform of choice may be all it takes to keep them and perhaps even make a true fan out of them.

    So, when folks tell me that social media is not important for their online marketing strategy, I ask them, “Do you want more brand advocates?” Better yet, who CAN’T use more close friends and colleagues, right?

    Now, moving on from my ramblings here…

    Measuring progress is important but do not fall into the trap of bean counting. There are many benefits to social media and it’s not always something direct or tangible. At the very least, being plugged in and well-connected makes you easier to find (and your brand THAT much more pervasive). 8)

  32. Yogizilla says

    Speaking of being “on the fence”, if it weren’t for the engaging folks on Triberr, I would not have met many of you. All it took was Dino reaching out to me via social media and finding my blogs to make that warm connection into something sizzling hot.. And, no, not that way. Social media is very much about lead nurturing, not just lead generation.. As rdempsey

    said on a recent blog entry, “Help first, sell second.” Focus on relationships, folks… or do things the hard way. ;o)

    (LiveFyre is dangerous.. It makes me want to name drop quite a bit. haha)

  33. Yogizilla says

    @EugeneFarber@seanEclarkgaryvee Well, this is where setting up active listening stations helps you gather more data points and feedback from your audience and casual visitors alike. Correlating the data is still partly a guessing game but, if you focus more on specific activities as you campaign, you’ll start to see how the activities churn out results. It’s much like SEO which, ironically, folks tend to put into that bucket of “stuff that I don’t really need to do because it’s mostly a waste of time” along with social media. Hey, you know it’s true.. Their loss. ;o)

  34. Yogizilla says

    @DannyBrown Absolutely!

    People tend to ask the elusive ROI questions because there are other root concerns at work. Typically, the real question is, “Am I spending my time wisely?”

    Conversion funnels, CRM, and lead nurturing are all things that can be enhanced by social media greatly.. But, even with today’s technology, it’s not always clear what activity correlates with the results we really want.

    For me, the easy answer is this: spend as much time as possible without cutting into your “me time” or cutting into the quality of your core offerings. If you spread yourself thin, you’re no good to anyone!

    I find that the processes here become a lot more natural when you do it for the right reasons. Try helping people, showing that you care, and sharing valuable content and the rest will come.. Many will argue against the ‘ol “sharing of your secret sauce” approach but it seems to be working rather well for some.

    The beautiful thing is that, like a telephone, we all have different ways of using social media and, if it works for you, keep on going.. Don’t let the experts guilt you into anything… Unless you’re missing something, then you can knock on Danny or Eugene’s door.. I won’t turn you down either. 8)

  35. says

    @Yogizilla Thx for the mention pal :) super honored to be in this list :) another great example of founders that reach out is the founders of @bufferapp :) @LeoWid :)

    Thx for this great post @dannyBrown it really is an important topic to talk of.. the importance of ROI is critical when biz want to align their efforts with biz value :)

  36. PRcommt says

    Very interesting piece – shows how hard it is to measure the type of input and investment required at prcommt we are trying to identify the input we are going to give to social media and unfortunately its not that easy especially as we are based in a very small country and as we are operating and probably of interest to a small segment of Facebook users.

  37. says

    Great read Eugene, I was as frustrated as you when looking for concreate answers to SM-ROI. It seems there are more variables than the industry leaders care to isolate and control. Not sure how they would be controlled, but there are definitely far too many to identify…

  38. says

    I think a lot of the struggle with social media ROI is not having a clear social media objective in the first place. Brand awareness and proxies for reach are okay, but at the end of the day, most C-levels care about conversions.

    I also think there are lots of tools that make our lives as social media analysts and marketers easier that most people don’t know about. I wrote about this about a month ago on my blog for a friend of mine:

    digitalanalytics101.com/2012/01/the-lazy-persons-guide-to-being-a-social-media-rock-star/

    -April

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