Social Media Jobs: Know the Value of Social Media

By Brooks Briz, David Rose

All social media pros face this question: What’s social media’s return on investment (ROI)? If someone asks what social media’s ROI is, have a few thought‐provoking statements prepared. Don’t get defensive or attack traditional media. Explain its metrics, direct response measurables, and customer‐retention abilities.

Soft benefits

Consider some of social media’s ancillary benefits:

  • The total amount a customer will spend over a lifetime

  • Better direct response and metrics

  • Extending consumer relationships with two‐way communication

  • Increased brand recognition

  • Free opportunity to convert customers

  • Enhanced brand loyalty

  • Increased in-bound web traffic

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)

Unfortunately, qualitative information and customer retention aren’t as valued as customer acquisition and sales metrics. In business, definitive sales metrics still rule all.

Hard benefits

The simplest ways to prove social media’s value from an ROI perspective follow:

  • Direct response. The best way to measure social media’s impact is to directly correlate the results with social media content.

    Establish marketing mechanisms that are tied only to specific platforms. Then, you know that platform is the only way a consumer could have made a specific purchase. Examples of direct response mechanisms are:

    • 1‐800 or specialized phone numbers

    • Campaign websites or landing page websites

    • Specialized email addresses

  • Web traffic. Free traffic tools (such as Google Analytics) can show you not only where the traffic came from but where they were referred from. For example, a brand fan might share a social media purchase link, which allows an analytics system to show the additional web traffic that resulted from sharing.

  • Social mentions. Social media aggregators such as SocialMention.com let you search across all social media engines to see all consumer comments around any keyword: a brand name, product, service, or industry, for example. You can put together this information to tell a brand what the general public thinks.

  • Social media analytics. Social media provides metrics that are unmatched by traditional media and can provide information such as actual impressions, actions taken, engagement ratios, and sharing metrics. Some of the more sophisticated social media tools, including raventools.com, provide exponentially more information than traditional marketing sources such as billboards and magazine ads. Not only that, social media analytics are more accurate since all the information is digital.

  • Social media ad sales. Using a website conversion pixel (code placed on a website), you can measure how many sales come from platform advertisements.