Social Media ROI

I provided a short answer to what drives Social Media ROI on Quora earlier today which generated an immediate response. I’m going to flesh out my answer, as I think many brands and businesses are struggling with identifying social media ROI. Before you even think about social media marketing ROI you have to create and launch a campaign and should be aware of these barriers to entry.

  • Remember the old saw: “time takes time” - well this is true of social media marketing. It requires an investment of time, which is increasing every day, as more and more jump into the market. It’s a marathon with the characteristics of a 100 yard dash!
  • Effective high impact social media marketing campaigns require a knowledge of specialized marketing processes and platforms (YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yelp, Flickr).
  • You should have a good understanding of content development and curation, coupled with a good web site structure that inculcates good SEO fundamentals.
  • Social media marketing is starting to draw a crowd - the low barriers to entry are disappearing. Meaning, your brand messaging has to stand out above the digital hubbub.

Now that I’ve hopefully give you a sanity check about the big picture challenges lets dive deeper into social media marketing ROI metrics. Big picture capabilities:

  1. Creates Buzz and Brand Awareness if outbound marketing is done creatively.
  2. Gets Targeted Customers talking about your Product and Services via Social Communities.
  3. Enables you to Build a Social Presence within these Communities, driving competitive barriers to entry.
  4. Track brand engagement (note my recommendations for platforms and services below).
  5. Monitor Competitors - remember they are doing the same on their end.
  6. Use Social Communities as a product feedback loop that’s second to none.
  7. Will push your organization to embrace new and challenging Marketing Methodologies, which in turn improves the DNA of your brand/organization.
  8. Give you the ability to measure positive Social Sentiment (or negative).

Tangible ROI Measurements for Social Media Marketing:

  • Revenue
  • Customer Acquisition
  • Generate Keyword Rankings and Related Search Traffic
  • Drive “real time search” traffic via Keywords in Social Streams
  • Cross Promote and Curate Content to Drive Search Rankings & Visibility
  • Utilize Social CRM to Engage with and Solve Customer Problems (Support)
  • Identify Customer Influencers & Market Directly to them
  • Move Ecommerce Initiatives into Social Stream to Minimize COG
  • Utilize Social Stream/Communities to Measure KPI
  • Drives Blog & Newsletter Subscribers
  • Leverages Content Development Costs

Market Leaders  involved in Social Media Marketing ROI

  • Owen Greaves

    You may be interested in Olivier Blanchards Book ” Social Media ROI”, just released March 8th, I have yet to find anything that nails it down as well.


  • Trish Forant

    Lee, you’ve shared a good list with your big picture capabilities and given some excellent examples of tangible ROI for your readers to build upon. Thanks for including us!

    Trish (@Dayngr)
    Community Manager | Radian6