Measuring RIO in social media


Social Media and RIO (Return On Investment) have a wonderful relationship. There are copious analytics out there that help you to watch what you are doing and how well you are traveling.

From how many people you are reaching and who are talking about you, to knowing the popularity of posts measured against days, time and customer cycles. You can see website traffic, how many offers and vouchers have been utilised and even compare platform against platform.

With these analytics, however, comes the constant debate around one of the most common (and dare I say it, most basic??) questions that those who work in social media are asked: what will be my RIO from social media.

Why is there debate? Because there is no answer. Some say having millions of loyal people seeing you everyday should be enough to silence this question. Others argue that without concrete sales coming in, what’s the point. No matter what side of the debate you fall on, there are some simple knowledge based steps that anyone can take to better understand and answer the ROI question for themselves.

Develop your KPI before you begin (AKA: planning)

As a business, you my think that sales is #1. Or is it community building? Or page engagement? Or reach?

The ROI you receive form social media MUST first be based around KPIs and that SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely). Before you begin to look at what ROI you want, you need to be able to see where you want to go.


Know your personal positioning (AKA: ROI against likes. AKA: What is a like worth)

This is a question that has no answer (yet).

Why? Because a LIKE for coke-cola ($3.50 a bottle, available on every corner-shop around the world), is distinctly different to BMW ($100,000 for one, available at specialised dealers).

If both have 1.1 million likes on their page, on one can hand-on-heart say that a LIKE for each is worth the same; their products are completely different and priced as such. There is no way of generating a general answer to such a specific and ever-changing question.

So what can you do today to get closer to your personal answer? Look at your likes, measure this against engagement, continue to watch the growth in community and sales and note what increases and when. Depending on what KIPs you set, you will begin to see what your likes are really worth.


Get smart and stop acting like a child (AKA: Sales Vs community)

In social (as in life) a relationship must come before a sale. Of the top 50 brands on social media, not one places gaining social sales as their number one priority. They see social as a way to connect, grown and communicate with the community in ways that was never possible until now. On average, social sales came 4th in their list of reasons for begin on social media.

What does this mean for you and your ROI? Stop yourself from placing a short-term emphasis on getting sales now, and follow what they big hitters do; long term game that ensures a strong, loyal and driven community that wants nothing more than to buy what you are selling.

Do you want sales? Yes. Will you get them? 100%. Will you get them in one week? Two months? 6 months? No one can answer that. It all depends on your strategy, how you are connecting with you community and how deep you are willing to get into social.


The ability to measure and analyse social media is wonderful. Every update comes with the ability to track what worked and what didn’t work. Gone are the days of generalisation and guestermations. Now is the time for specific data and knowing where you stand. What this means for you and the ROI you will see from social can be summed up in one sentence: plan, understand and know what you want to do so that you can measure and analyse and alter your course to ensure your business receives the greatest ROI possible.


Have your say: How do you measure your business RIO in social?

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