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How Do We Measure Social Media ROI?

One of the biggest questions on the subject of social media is: How do you measure your return on investment (ROD? How do you find out where your time and dollars are going on these various networks?

When you're dealing with investments and direct marketing campaigns, it's easier to measure the results of your spending, but this can be more difficult with social networks. The social media ROI concept is still in its infancy, but there are many tools and tactics on how to measure the return, or at least how to analyze how effective your social media presence is.


There is no doubt that figuring out your ROI is an important factor in determining where to put marketing dollars. If you're not getting tangible, direct results immediately, why spend the money on it, right? Well, not really. As marketers struggle to wrap their heads around how and where social media plays a role in marketing efforts and budgets, there is a shift to start analyzing what really matters for long-term success: the value of the relationships acquired and maintained through social media.

Instead of trying to calculate the exact dollar amount acquired from each new client that you gained solely from social media compared to the dollar amount spent on social media assets (technology, staff, time), try changing the metrics. When it comes to social media and digital marketing, the measurement needs to encompass factors that are significantly broader than this.

Think back to the last time you attended a trade conference, a chamber networking event, or an impromptu coffee meeting with a prospective client. During these occasions, I'm guessing you engaged in conversation, exchanged pleasantries, passed out business cards, and gave brilliant elevator speeches.

In other words, you spread the seeds of your business or mission with hopes that some would grow into lasting relationships.

Many seeds withered and faded, but others probably developed into fruitful returns on your investment of time and energy.

Similar to real-life relationship-building meetings and events, social media offers the platforms to spread the seeds of your business or cause to the world. Think about it: The Internet is just an extension of real life, and in some cases people are actually spending more time conversing and interacting online than in person.

Measuring the growth of these seeds can be a challenging concept to grasp, but it begins by shifting the definition of your return on investment (ROI) and developing a solid list of key performance indicators (KPI). Below are three indispensable strategies to consider when it comes to measuring social media ROI.

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