Social Media and ROI

ROII often hear varying degrees of dis-satisfaction when it comes to social media campaigns.  The biggest complaints tend to be ‘not getting enough sales’, not seeing (or being able to measure) a return on our investment and for those on the fence, not seeing how a social media campaign has value.  When speaking with prospective clients I try to make one thing clear:

You have to look at the big picture. Online marketing is as much about driving exposure and branding as it is sales.  What social media offers is the two way communication component that allows more personal interaction with your customers and clients.  Building that relationship, in addition to greater brand awareness is what ultimately leads to more sales and referrals.  While some businesses will and do see direct sales as a result of social media posting (a couple of my clients more than pay for management fees with the sales generated directly attributable to their posts) for most businesses it can be very difficult if not impossible to accurately measure ROI.  That makes it very difficult for anyone to guarantee a return or measure it.

Look at it this way.  The ONLY way to know for a fact that a sale came from a Facebook is if your client tells you as much.  If you are running multiple marketing campaigns the likelihood is that your client doesn’t remember exactly when they heard about you and what prompted them to call or buy.  Adding to the confusion,  I know for a fact that many of the customers of a client have searched Google, found the link to Facebook and contacted the business via a message.  Do we attribute that sale to Facebook or Google?  A Google search would be how the business was found, but was it the Facebook marketing efforts that resulted in the high ranking leading them back to Facebook?

With social media ROI is more abstract and the business needs to focus on empirical data.  Over the course of you’re campaign have you seen a increase in website traffic – page visits, inquires or orders?  Have you received more calls in general?

Due to the nature online marketing it can be very difficult to attribute sales to a campaign. It’s about supporting your traditional marketing efforts, not just about sales and ROI. If you’re strictly after sales from posts and emails, you will be disappointed.


About Robert Nissenbaum

As a consultant, speaker and educator I provide common sense, practical and actionable social media advice to small business owners and solopreneurs. Active using LinkedIn and Facebook since 2007, Twitter since 2009, Google+ and Pinterest by invitation before public release and now Instagram, the advice, support and training I offer are based on close to a decade of experience in using social media for my personal and own business brands, not simply what I have been taught or read. I approach social media from a very different perspective than most in the industry. I teach small business owners to shift their view of social media; to understand it’s less about their content and more about networking and building relationships. I work with clients to create the blueprint they need to succeed, help put the infrastructure and systems in place and offer continuing support. Social media is more than a career. It’s my passion. Having spoken on and taught social media since 2011, you’ll get a knowledgeable, seasoned speaker who will deliver quality content without fluff and up-sells. I am available to speak or facilitate social media training workshops at your event on a variety of topics and have presented in Washington and Arizona. Speaking engagements and workshops can be tailored to your needs with presentations as short as 20-30 minutes and training workshops starting at 90 minutes.
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2 Responses to Social Media and ROI

  1. yannick says:

    I agree that it is very hard to determine the return of social media campaigns. However, there are a many tools that let companies measure the impact of their social media engagements, and there are ways to estimate the ROI, for example by calculating how much you save by reducing the use of traditional media and channels.

    • Yannick,

      Looking at the cost reduction from decreased use of more traditional marketing is a great way to ‘measure’ ROI. My biggest issue is business owners…and rightfully so…they want and need to know how effectively they are spending their money. Even traditional marketing can be a challenge depending on the channel used.


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