What's the ROI of Social?


By Nicole Fletcher

This might not come as a surprise to any of you, but the number one question I get asked by prospective clients revolves around the ROI of social media and golly- it irks me. I can’t tell you how many brands in today’s day and age pour money into both traditional and online marketing just for the sake of doing so. They don’t question the efficiency of their expenditures nor do they measure their return. Even if they do and notice the failures, they continue to exist in a complacent purgatory where money grows on trees and falls by the wayside. Frustrating.

It’s especially frustrating when the selling point of social is a promise of this return on investment and I, as an honest tech soul, can’t give it. I can set expectations, explain the plan of attack, give testimonials, numbers from other client campaigns etc, but the bottom line is, every brand is different and as such, each will experience different destinies. We might think we have the most brilliant campaign idea in the world…but we might not. At that point, after ample time had passed, we would reevaluate and try again. Social Media is not the overnight sensation people want it to be and in fact, it’s really just a modern tech, new take on what marketing has been for years. After all, unless you’re measuring the number of times someone scans a QR code in a print ad or on a billboard (big QR code), you can’t justify that financial expenditure based on ROI either. You’re paying for brand awareness, for impressions, for the number of publications that publication boasts…you’re spending $900 for a half page ad because you think you should…because you always have…but is that really the right thing to do? No- it’s not. Evolve to embracy the 21st century and make your mind social.

Social media is the glue that holds together your marketing strategy. It’s what you pitch as an added customer service tool, what gets your more email addresses, more website impressions, higher page rank (with respect to SEO), promotes your PR efforts, develops relationships, and ultimately gets you sales. The brand awareness and outside perception you develop over time is invaluable and it boggles my mind how people don’t understand that.

If you’re spending upwards of $50k on direct mail and getting less than 1% return…re-evaluate. If your emails are purchased and your spam score is through the roof…re-evaluate. If you’re Facebooking just to Facebook…re-evaluate. See a pattern here? Make sure you have a strategy and are maximizing your efforts (see a company who isn’t)…like during a workout. Why wouldn’t you get the most out of that 30 minutes as opposed to flitting and flailing around for an hour? Work hard, be efficient and really analyze what you’re doing for, as the age old saying goes: Time is money…and it is. Make social the glue that blinds everything together and makes your whole marketing strategy cohesive and work together. It doesn’t make sense not to.