As seen in THE BEAT, December 2019. Subscribe here.

When you’re asked for the ROI of your latest social media campaign, how do you respond?

If you’re like most social media managers, you might rely on the obvious – we gained X new followers, X retweets, X Facebook shares, and so on. But what is this really telling you? And most importantly, how do you tie these numbers back to social media ROI?

Today, only 15 percent of marketers have proven social’s impact quantitatively and 58 percent of CMOs feel increasing pressure to prove the value of marketing*. Clearly, it’s time for a new approach to understanding social’s bottom-line impact.

To get started, here are 8 steps to help you master social media ROI.

Goals1. Set measurable goals. Why is your organization participating in social media? Your answer to this question will likely fall into one of three categories:

  • Increase Brand Awareness
  • Generate New Leads
  • Retain Customers

Metrics2. Define metrics based on your goals. Each of the above goals can be broken down into key metrics that you can track through social media monitoring.

Increase Brand Awareness

  • Reach: The number of followers, fans or subscribers who have the potential to see your content
  • Brand mentions: How many discussions mentioned your brand or product name?
  • Brand perceptions: How do people feel about your company and/or its products?
  • Influence: Of those who mentioned your message or brand/product name, number of followers they have
  • Engagement: The number of interactions, such as click-throughs, shares, likes, re-tweets, comments, website or landing page visits, etc.

Generate New Leads

  • Leads: The number of leads generated through social channels
  • Engagement and clicks: Comments, replies, likes and visits to landing pages or websites that capture leads
  • Conversions: Form submissions, content downloads, etc. that capture a potential lead’s contact info

Retain Customers

  • Customer recommendations: The increase in positive comments and referrals following social outreach
  • Customer retention: Number of customers you engage with on social compared with those you don’t, and their dollar values

Lapsed customer saves: How many lapsed customers came back due to your outreach on social media?

Value3. Assign a value to your goals. Once you’ve defined your goals and the metrics you’ll use to track them, calculate a monetary value for each conversion. If possible, use historical data, such as lifetime value of a customer, as a benchmark. You might also consider other values such as decrease in cost per impression or site visit when using social, compared with other methods of generating traffic.

Platform4. Determine the right platforms. Understand your target audience(s), how they use social and what type of content keeps them engaged. Remember, each social platform has a unique purpose and messaging style, so it’s important to determine which platforms are the right fit for your unique audience.

CTA5. Know where your leads came from. Integrate calls-to-action (CTAs) and create campaign-specific URLs to track leads. A strong CTA urges your audience to respond in a specific way – typically by clicking on a link to visit a landing page and take action such as submit a form, download, purchase or share.

Calculate 6. Calculate your investment. To calculate social media ROI, start with the value of what you bring in and the cost of your social efforts, including labor costs, social tools, paid advertising, etc.

Analyze 7. Analyze your results. Social media ROI is more than just subtracting spend from revenue. It’s just as important to understand the “why” behind the data to make informed decisions about how to improve results going forward.

Action8. Take action and improve. Implementing a social media ROI measurement strategy allows you to make more strategic, data-driven decisions. Use what you’ve learned to augment future campaigns and consistently improve. Stand out by proposing new campaign ideas or changes to existing strategies when presenting your results to important stakeholders.


Looking for additional recommendations or need help formulating the optimal social media strategy for your organization? The experts at Responsory can help! Contact us today.

*Duke University CMO Survey