The Digital Chronicles – Understanding Social Media ROI



But Facebook is for fun not business-

There’s no real return on being social-

Traditional methods will always trump digital-

Let me stop you right there. Ten years ago, social was a toddler, cute, chubby and barely able to string together three words.

It’s 2016. That toddler is grown, sophisticated and judging you for dismissing the possibilities of social media (as detailed in my previous Digital Chronicles blogs). It’s basically a similar conversation that surrounded the onset of websites – people were convinced that consumers would revere traditional media over digital touch-points. They didn’t. If your company does not have a website, it immediately sends a message about that type of business you are and that message is an unfavorable one.

It’s become the same with social. Gone are the days when Facebook was simply a way to connect with friends and loved ones. It is now a powerhouse, both personally, professional, politically and beyond. The same sentiments hold for ever-growing platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. The digital world breeds innovation, consistently and without regard for outdated thinking. Adaptation to the changes in your audience’s preference for communicating and sourcing information shouldn’t be a question, it should be a constant.


Return on Investment for social media is an elaborate topic. For reference, ROI = (Return-Investment) / Investment. For businesses, the ROI conversation is an important one, that executives should not ignore. An independent study by Altimeter revealed some challenges that organizations face regarding social media ROI (shown below). 


As marketers, especially those dedicated to content, social media and digital marketing, we have to help organizations face these challenges. Hootsuite’s blog gives insight into why measuring social media ROI simply and transparently is so important: 

The discussion then moves to social media metrics, which should be tied back to broader organizational SMART goals. A marketer should pitch a social strategy that compliments and adds value to a business’ existing goals and objectives. Some examples of social metrics are shown below:

There are countless tools for tracking ROI, from Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Buffer, Hootsuite etc. Choosing the optimum blend of tools ultimately depends on your organization’s goals, and a marketer would do well to understand the basics of each when putting together social strategies.


For more information on Social Media ROI, Quicksprout put together a comprehensive infographic that covers the fundamentals of the topic. It’s a good place to start in understanding two things: 1. Social can make you money 2. Social can generate more than just money. 

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