What is your Return on Investment in Social Media? Seems to be a logical and oft-repeated question these days in the marketing world.
But to answer that you have to define both of those terms. When it comes to social media, what is your actual INVESTMENT in making social media happen? And how (and what) do you measure your RETURN on social media?
Your investment could be a lot of different things: time spent, money spent, videos and photos shot and shared, tweets, blog posts, brand impressions made, efforts to make those connections with people you meet online (how will those turn out?)…can you think of anything else? Goodwill spread? Number of fans? Number of new fans that are created by your brand ambassadors that you don’t even know about, that are now a part of your community?
And what about your return? Try defining that: is it actual sales dollars generated? Customer service dollars saved by having less people in your CS department thanks to your awesome social media engagement? Future sales results of new connections you’re making now online? The dollar value of the goodwill you created by responding to a crisis in real-time? Number of fans on Facebook? Or the number of interactions you have on Facebook with those fans? No doubt you can think of more if you put your mind to it.
It appears that ROI in the social media world has too many moving parts to pin down to a specific number, or even a general number. Because as soon as you do that, someone is going to say, ‘well, did you include_____?’ and you have to start over again.
Trust me. There’s a lot of value in the ROI of social media. It just depends on how you slice it.