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Andy Williams

Social Media ROI: Is It Worth It?

21st Oct 2014 Social Media 8 minutes to read


Social Media ROISocial Media – still a taboo subject for far too many companies. It’s also often overlooked as a genuine marketing tool. But this needn’t be the case. Social Media is both an effective marketing tool that delivers strong ROI – but only if used correctly. Let’s look into this further.

Many preach its importance, but the causal individual use of platforms like Twitter and Facebook possibly make companies shy away from understanding their true value as part of an online marketing campaign.

The belief that Twitter and Facebook are simply full of teenagers recording their every irrelevant move is very wide of the mark. Social Media is also a hotbed of potential customers and clients providing a ready-made audience just waiting for you to outreach to them.

Modern day consumers have become rather lazy. Shopping online or researching online has meant that everything they are looking for is presented to them on their desktop, laptop and of course mobile device. No more ringing around, no more walking around shopping centres to find the best deals. A majority of research is done online before a single foot is placed outside – if the person even ventures away from their desk in the first place.

But the beauty of this is that you can outreach to these people directly.
Social for businesses isn’t people seeking attention, updating where they are, what they think of the X-Factor or liking random images.

Social for business is far more targeted if you do it right and should be used as part of your online marketing campaign.

And most importantly is can bring you return on investment. But despite this I still hear the following comments from online businesses:

  • “Social isn’t for us – we don’t want to give people the platform to talk about us”
  • “Social is all well and good but what will I genuinely get back in return for all these hours of tweeting?”

“Social isn’t for us – we don’t want to give people the platform to talk about us”

The first point is easy to address. Regardless of whether you put yourself on Social or not – your audience is out there and people are talking about you or your products/services.

Facebook

So if people are talking about you or discussing your products – doesn’t it make sense to engage with them? Even if what is being said isn’t positive. You have the chance to engage directly with your audience in a way never possible before.

Talk to them, engage with them, provide them with amazing customer service online – in front of everyone. Give them content to engage with and share. Build your audience and talk to them.

The reality is – if you don’t talk to them, someone else will.

“Social is all well and good but what will I genuinely get back in return for all these hours of tweeting?”

The second point is a bit trickier and it all comes back to ROI – Return on Investment.

And this is the big question asked again and again – what do I get in return for all this social engagement and work?

It’s a great question and the answers are important.

So let’s look into them.

Understanding The Power Of Social Media

Before you do anything it is important you truly understand the power of Social Media and what you are getting into.

Revisiting a point covered earlier, you may be surprised how many online businesses still haven’t delved into Social or haven’t even claimed their company names on the main platforms. There are still those who strongly believe that “social isn’t for them”.

But what about this?

As of July 2014 there were 645,750,000 registered Twitter users. There were 1,310,000,000 active Facebook users. And the number of unique visits to YouTube every month was a massive 900,000,000.

All of these people just using social media daily – a ready-made audience just sat there.

Now ask yourself this question: How many of these people know about my business?
Well check this out – all of them can be reached in one way or another via these platforms BY YOU.

Never before has it been handed to you so easily on a plate.

That really is how powerful social media can be. No really.

Return On Investment

OK, so, all these people are out there, all theoretically can be reached but what return on investment can you gain from Social Media?

Well like all marketing campaigns – it depends on the goals you are trying to achieve.

Social Media Profiles

I don’t want to get too side-tracked, but it is so important to ensure that you do pick the right platforms for your business before you do anything.

I have mainly spoken about Twitter and Facebook so far, these are the ones that are always at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts but that doesn’t automatically mean this is all that is out there. Do your research, find the ones that are right for you. Make sure you complete your profile and away you go.

Social Media Growth

Building your following is an easy way of highlighting that your work is providing value.
It’s very easy to buy followers or likes (tactics that no serious business should undertake) but this doesn’t represent anything and doesn’t give you any value.

If you build your following then you will have created yourself a genuine audience – this can be priceless.

Anyone following your brand or liking your brand basically shows they like what you have to offer and wants to be kept up-to-date.

It is just as important not to get too obsessed with the increase in followers. Getting the right people to follow you is more important than getting hundreds of people following you who don’t truly care about you.

There are many ways in which you can build your audience and I have covered this in a recent Koozai TV video.

Promoting Your Products On Social Media

It’s important to remember the reason you are on Social Media to start with – to promote your company and to get people either buying your products or hiring your services.

Brand awareness is also a key reason to be on social.

But with the above in mind it is so important that you actually promote your products.

You need to be engaging, you need to be interesting and you need to be giving people a reason to keep coming back; but at the same time you need to be promoting exactly what you are selling.

Tracking Conversions

You need to know how many conversions your activity is actually bringing to your site.

Google Analytics can give you this exact information.

To make this easy for you, set up goals in Analytics. All you need to do is make sure you track the goals that you are targeting, for example downloads, sales, leads, contacts etc.

If you want to find out the top level information then Analytics can provide this. Simply go to:

Acquisition > Social > Overview

From here you can find basic data on what social platforms have been driving traffic to your site. This is also where you can set up those all important goals.

With this information you can start to get a real feel as to how your campaigns are truly performing.

There Is More To Social Than Conversions

Your overall Social Media campaign can do more than bring in the sales and conversions.

Social will also create far stronger brand awareness.

And this goes back to a question I asked earlier on – How many of the millions of people using social know about you?

Well you may not be reaching out to them all, but you can be sure that if you are carrying out your campaigns correctly then your brand awareness will have increased.

The knock-on effect is a bigger brand online.

If you continue to feed your audience there is a bigger chance that these people will become brand angels and naturally spread the word. It’s basically free marketing. This is a seriously awesome Return on Investment.

Free Tools

We all love free tools and tracking your Return on Investment is made a whole lot easier using free tools such these examples:

Twitter Analytics provides you with a number of dashboards that will help you understand the engagement you are currently receiving on Twitter.

Facebook Insights will give you data relating to your Facebook Business page. This information will help you understand how people have been interacting with your page as well as the number of people you are actually reaching out to.

Hootsuite is a great management tool, but you can also gain free metric data which will help provide you with extra data. It’s limited with a free account but if you are simply looking for top level information it is ideal.

Google Analytics can of course provide you with highly important campaign tracking information. This platform will provide you with more information than any other free tool. If you are an online business you should already be using this.

So Is It Worth It?

The simple answer is yes.

The brand new audience you can create, the engagement you can carry out, the brand awareness you can create and of course the sales that you can also see coming through the door – Social Media is essential.

There are some areas you may not be able to put an exact price on but the overall picture will be a lot healthier.

We are close to the stage where any online business not on social is going to be left behind, so there is no reason not to get involved – and the Return on Investment will bring its rewards.

Image Credits by BigStock Images.

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Andy Williams
About the author

Andy Williams

Andy Williams will be giving you useful insights into local search and the overall SEO landscape. Andy has over 10 years experience in the SEO industry including 2 years as the in-house SEO consultant with a leading Web Design company.

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