Does ROI Fit into Social Media Marketing for Businesses?

by Shannon Bradley on April 15, 2009

Matt O’Brien explains the 5 basic ways to measure results with social media marketing and online branding.

For those of you that have been in the Internet marketing business for a while, you more or less see social media as another search engine marketing tool that you can pull out of your tool box when needed. Others may not have a search engine marketing tool set and therefore may not have the big picture with social media. However, this does not mean you are not going to look into why there is so much hype around social media and if there a fit for marketing you an/or your business with it.

Let’s start with one of my favorite concepts, getting hired on account of the strength and quality of your network. Interview questions may soon be more like, “how many people are in your LinkedIn network” or a bit more of a stretch is “how many followers do you have on Twitter?” This makes sense today if you are looking to get hired as an online marketing or social media marketer. But the time is coming or may already be here that the strength of your network will make a difference to getting a job, especially if you are in sales. More on this topic, about under being ‘The Hunted’…

So what does this have to do with delivering an ROI with social media? Well, that depends on what your goals are. If you are out of work, social media can help you find a job and this can be a huge ROI for you. Let’s switch gears and talk about businesses. There have been some great articles on social media and ROI and one of my favorite quotes about it by Steven Smith:

The problem with trying to determine ROI for social media is you are trying to put numeric quantities around human interactions and conversations, which are not quantifiable.”

I could not agree more but for some reason companies not in the game and prospects I call on think this is a cute saying but they want to know what results they can expect or they are going to remain on the sidelines. In addition to saying to them, “well the conversation is going on around your brand with or without you” we also say, “let’s work with the number 5”. We see there are 5 basic ways to measure the results with social media marketing and online branding that are specific and measurable:

  1. Increase mentions online through publishing of content on multiple online sources and create inbound links to website
  2. Improve overall keyword rankings and specifically the top landing pages
  3. Increase traffic to website
  4. Build an online community through social media marketing
  5. Help create inquiries and awareness of the online brand

We can then take each of these 5 benchmarks and set goals that we can measure on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis.

Matt O’Brien is a blog marketing expert and is the founder of Mint Social. To learn more on creating ROI with social media please visit or call 602-206-8089.

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