Social media marketing: What is the ROI?

The big question that is often asked about social media when it comes to investing money, resources, and time is “what is the return on investment?”

Some pundits will say that’s not the right question because it is like asking “what is the ROI on your phone?”. Others will say social media should stand up and be measured in its own right. The challenge though is that we live in a multi-channel marketing world and the path to your sales door for your product is not a straight path and easy to measure.

It is not unusual for a company or brand to have the following digital channels and tactics that are all engaging, marketing and selling:

- Email
- Paid search ads
- Organic search results
Facebook
Twitter
- Blog
- Slideshare
LinkedIn
Pinterest

And that’s just the beginning. I haven’t even mentioned Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr or a multitude of other channels.

These are all working to drive the prospect to your business and buy your product or service.

But there is also another question.

Should the first click or the last click get the credit?

In our social and online world, seeing that your friend liked a certain brand could lead you to visit that Facebook page and click on a link that offered a discount for their product that took you to their online store. You didn’t buy, but left the site. A week later you do a Google search for the brand, visit the site and buy the product.

Who gets the credit? Google or Facebook?

Research by Adobe analyzed 1.7 billion visits to the websites of more than 225 U.S. companies in the media, retail, and travel industries. It shows that the ROI for social increases significantly if the first click attribution is accepted.

Using first-click attribution for the retail websites we analyzed, the average visitor from social media sites delivered $1.13 in revenue. In contrast, when using last-click attribution, the average visitor from social media generated $0.60

In the end both contributed.

Is social media about engagement or selling?

“Social media’s” main role in this online marketing game is revealed by the first word in the phrase. It is about engaging first and selling second. It is human and social. Do this well and selling your product becomes easier. Your content will define your brand. It is achieved with images, videos and content that humanize your business.

Social media’s value is not always captured by first-click or last-click attribution models. This value includes:

- Brand awareness
- Customer loyalty
- Engagement through social conversations
- Engagement due to content
- Offline channel transactions
- Personal referrals due to awesome content that adds value

These are hard to put a value against but they are real albeit soft metrics and should be in your marketing tactics tool box.

10 Examples of Social Media ROI

So what sort of results can be achieved from social media marketing? Here are a few examples.

10 Case Studies of the ROI of Social Media

Infographic source: psoshul.com

So what about you?

How do you use social media? Is it more about engaging than selling?

Does your CEO need more hard facts and wants to see the ROI before they commit the resources and cold hard cash or is creating brand awareness and customer loyalty valued?

Look forward to reading your stories in the comments below.

Want to learn how to create great content for your social media marketing?

My book – “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media”will show you how.

It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.

I also reveal the tactics I used to grow my Twitter followers to over 139,000.

Download and read it now.

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