What's The ROI Of Social Media?

It’s a question I hear all too often in my industry. Whether it’s when I'm crafting strategy for clients, speaking to the discipline with agency colleagues, at networking events, or in casual conversation with family and friends...I frequently find myself defending social media and explaining that it’s not just a bunch of millennials snapping to one another. If you're a brand manager thinking solely about how many sales leads you can get by using social media, you may want to rethink what you are doing. The truth is, social media for brands is a powerful communication tool that is used to connect, influence and shape global reputation.

Yes, of course, there are ways to calculate the return on investment through data and analytics. However, that will be determined by what your organization's objectives are. For example, if your goal is to drive brand awareness, you'd want to measure for audience impressions and reach. Those measurements look great to put into a report and present at the board room table. I believe that's a narrowed view of social media and the role it plays for brands. I believe it's much more simple than that.   

People have shifted the way they consume - not only products and services, but content and entertainment. They have shifted the way they communicate and are entertained, and indirectly, how they make product and service decisions (or moreso, how they are persuaded). The launch of Facebook's "Watch" is just one example of that. The lines between advertising and entertainment are becoming very blurry.

"Why should (insert brand name here) be on social media?" is the second question I get asked the most. The answer to that is multi-faceted. And my response usually is with another question - "How are you not on social media?"

Social media provides an outlet for brands to convey who they are to their fans and potential customers on a humanistic level. It provides a platform to develop a tone and voice that makes brands more relatable to consumers. But, more importantly, it provides a forum to connect with people on a one to one level. It provides an avenue to continue that connection and potentially turn individuals into brand advocates. It provides an opportunity to shape opinion. It provides an opportunity to show thought leadership. It provides brands a way to respond quickly to opportunities and threats. It provides a way to listen to what others are saying about your brand. It provides a way to develop a finer targeting strategy based on much more than demographics, but interests. It provides a way to become involved in larger conversations. It provides a much more efficient way to test content and messaging. 

You get the point, there are many advantages to social media. But I want to get back to simplicity. The ROI of social media is that your brand will be relevant. Your brand will exist. Your brand will be living. Not just a logo waiting to perish.   

♥︎ ♣︎ ♦︎ ♠︎

Steven Castro-Savich