• Motorburn
      Because cars are gadgets
    • Gearburn
      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
    • Ventureburn
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    • Jobsburn
      Digital industry jobs for the anti 9 to 5!

How do you measure social media ROI?

Most of the time, return on investment (ROI) on a digital campaign can be measured through factors that are fairly quantifiable and direct. When it comes to the measurement of social media marketing and ROI, though, many businesses find it very difficult to connect returns with their social media investment.

Social media marketing requires planning, scheduling, time, and organising of resources. Whatever you share online with your social media campaign needs to be organised and produced behind the scenes in an ongoing effort to keep the content relevant, unique, and fresh to consumers.

The investment in social media is often less of a physical money figure, and more of a HR investment for your business. Someone in your organization has to create your social media content, choose what other content you are going to share, update your campaign, organize the contests, prizes, etc. This person also needs to respond to any inquiries that your business receives via social media and to engage with these people to strengthen your network. After all this it needs to be tied back to your business objectives to measure the results.

Social media marketing ROI, including all the benefits and how it can support your traditional marketing initiatives, has been proven many times, but it is still a mystery to many. Some of the baseline criteria that can be measured with social media include:

  • Increased sales
  • New business leads
  • Improved overall efficiency
  • Better business reach
  • Improved customer feedback (support)
  • Increased consumer value
  • Improved brand awareness
  • Increased targeted traffic

In the case of consumer value, social media ROI can be measured in its ability to develop better customer relationships that is important for your overall campaign. For measuring feedback, social media allows consumers to easily provide real time inquiries and product reviews that can help you innovate virtually at any time. Increased consumer value is the perception that your business creates in doing good to the people who you reach with your campaign. Offering savings such as coupons through your social media campaigns is just a simple way to create this “value” offering.

More and more people are using social media to make the final decision purchase, bypassing company or product websites. This is straight forward to measure, because these are returns that connects to social media directly. Before I purchase a new book on the Amazon Kindle store, I read the reviews and comments to help me decide. If you are interested in a fridge, television or cellphone to name but a few products, do you check online for comments before you purchase or sign a contract?

As more companies are jumping on the social media bandwagon, some are already using only their Facebook or Twitter profiles instead of their website address. Those that are familiar with social media know that many consumers are going straight to their social media profiles to get the latest information, and to check if they can be trusted.

Social media marketing should not be a standalone campaign

Social media marketing can really be beneficial and measured accurately when your campaign works hand in hand with your other marketing activities such as traditional marketing, SEO, advertising and public relations. When social media works together with your other marketing initiatives, those activities can be influenced by social activity.

Another fact to consider with measuring your social media campaign is that it is not just about bringing in new customers to your business; it is about building trust between your current clients and your business, and at the same time, increasing your brand awareness.

Because social media is a continuous activity, many businesses think that it has a very low ROI, but in fact, it has a much higher return than they realise. This is due to the fact that the ROI of social media doesn’t present straight forward, black and white results on its own. You need to know and understand what you will be measuring how it integrates and support your current business objectives and goals.

Author | Anton Koekemoer

Anton Koekemoer
Heading up the Open Circle Solutions team, I'm a digital marketing specialist with international marketing experience. A successful track record in leading digital marketing teams, combined with extensive experience in planning digital campaigns and strategies has given me a well-rounded background in the digital space. More


  1. Brattstar

    May 4, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    personally you are building a glass house out of your brand then placing rocks outside with a sign thats says “Dont Throw Stones” – its inevitable ppl in an online environment can be malicious with out reason. Then your brand serves them with inadequate service, what do you think the outcome is going to be…

    Works for some brands but not for all. There are pros and conns – more conns right now imo.

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  3. Anton Koekemoer

    May 4, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Nope. Sorry, I don’t agree.The birth of social media made all businesses “glass houses” as you said. Anyone can now be a “journalist” and can share anything with their network making you vulnerable to the outside world. It all depends on how you act with what they are saying. 

  4. Brattstar

    May 5, 2012 at 9:54 am

    If you dont give ppl a platform how are they going to lambast you on your facebook/twitter feed when you dont have one. You dont agree because this is what you do for a living and your opinion is bias towards your means of living. I wouldn’t expect a Social Media Strategist to agree. You can maintain the status quo using traditional communication platforms that have less detrimental effects to your brand in the public space. There are far too many examples of Social Media Gone Wild to even think that its a Brand panacea to good client service and communication into the public domain. Im not saying all brands shouldn’t use the platform Im saying some shouldn’t even consider it…

  5. Anton Koekemoer

    May 5, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    I think you misunderstood this post completely. Read the title again “How do you measure social media ROI” not “Should I use social media”

  6. Brattstar

    May 6, 2012 at 4:23 am

    Fair enough, doesn’t change the facts of an online public brand SnM session that can occur if you dont have all the right answers on hand all the time to appease the hungry online masses waiting to take a chuck out of your collective behinds :) So we can agree to agree and to disagree on some points?

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