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Calculating ROI in Social Media

roiROI. ROI. ROI. Say that ten times fast! Say it once or say it a thousand times, most social media professionals are tired of getting asked to calculate it. I spoke with a representative at Oracle, one of the largest tech corporations, not long ago. My contact there confirmed that nobody has a definite answer to calculating ROI in social media. This proves a point of mine exactly, there is no direct answer to return on investment (ROI) from social media.

Now, there are things we can quantify in social media. We can find the number of likes, retweets, mentions, pins, hashtags used and more. We can find out how many people visit our website and are referred from social networks. We can see how many people share our most recent blog article or press release. What we cannot determine is what we are going to get out of it for all the money that we spend on it – and if you’re not spending money on it you’re already in trouble.

What most do not realize is that no matter how you see it, social media is a key lifeline for business. It is necessary. It is no longer an optional thing to do. Everything is becoming socialized. To maintain a positive share in the marketplace, businesses need to keep themselves out there. Ten years from now, you will stumble upon this topic and laugh. I’ve been using social media for 11 years now and all it has taught me is that people like to feel close to what they believe in. If they like science fiction novels, people will use social networks to connect with science fiction authors, fans and companies. If people are interested in baking, they will follow famous bakers, share recipes on networks and talk with other fellow bakers.

The fact is, if you are not out there talking with those interested in topics that you or your company cares about, someone else will. Someone else will lead the conversation. Someone else will move your customers to their side. The question constantly arises – What is the ROI of social media to our organization? The real question is – What is the negative ROI if you do not use social media?

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