Why Social Media ROI is the Easiest Metric to Measure

social media roi

Here’s a conversation on social media ROI that takes place inside small, medium, large… Even Fortune 500 businesses every single day:

Marketing Professional: “We need to leverage social media in our marketing efforts!”

Decision Maker: “What’s the social media ROI?”

Marketing Professional: “Ummm… Well… We can increase our Facebook “Likes” and get more Twitter  Followers and Pinterest is hot right now so we can get more of our images Pinned…”

Decision Maker: “Great… What’s the social media ROI?”

Marketing Professional: “Yes… Well… Ummm… More “Likes” on Facebook means more people see our message and read our story and then eventually buy our products.”

Decision Maker: “Yes… I get it… What’s the social media ROI?”

Marketing Professional: “Social media ROI is tough to measure really…”

Decision Maker: “Yeah… OK… So where are we with that newspaper ad you’ve been working on?”

Sound familiar?

Something you’ve experienced personally?

Yeah me too…

Then I realized something about social media (really all digital marketing) that completely changed the way I viewed social media ROI (Return on Investment)…

Social Media ROI

What I realized is simple… Social media is no different than any other form of marketing, prospecting or sales activity that you currently execute within your business.

The only return on investment from social media that matters to your business is REVENUE! Click to Tweet

social media roi

Dollar bills…


Black numbers on the income statement…

In the words of my generation… STRAIGHT CASH HOMEY!

“Likes” on Facebook are great… And I would agree that growing the number of “Likes” you have on Facebook is important to expanding reach and building new relationships.

But there is no correlation as to how many “Likes” equals how much revenue to your business.

“Likes” would be an ROI metric if you could say something like:

For every 100 Facebook “Likes” our business receives a check for $5,000.

If that were a reality than our business would stop producing whatever product or service it is that we produce and instead our primary business function would be “Like” accumulation…

Sounds silly right?

But that’s what happens when you focus metrics such as number of “Likes” to ROI… You sound silly.

Don’t Make Social Media ROI Harder Than it Is

Gary Vaynerchuk famously said in response to the social media ROI question:

 What’s the ROI of your Mom?

And as edgy and cool a statement as that may be I’ve never agreed with it.  What he was really trying to say was “Just Launch.”  Gary was making the point that you shouldn’t allow the ROI question to keep you from engaging in social media (Which I definitely agree with…)

But “Your Mom” is not tangible… Your Mom doesn’t pay the bills… So I think Gary’s statement, “What’s the ROI of your Mom?” lacks real punch.


Gary is a real-deal Content Warrior with the desire and ability to attract attention at will… So I understand the method behind the words.

Which is why I was very pleasantly surprised to here him change his message slightly (understatement…maybe) in a recent keynote speech to Inc. 500:

Why do I like social media? It’s not the, we’re all Kumbaya… I like social media because it sells shit…

Yes, Gary! Yes!

That’s a little more like it…

The Rub

You are most likely not in the Social Media business.

Many of you are insurance professionals and small business owners… Some others are marketing professionals from larger businesses… There are a few straight bloggers and copywriters… And even some hardcore Internet marketers… None of you are in the social media business.

You use social tools

But social media isn’t your business.

Social media is how you deliver value, build relationships and ultimately in the words of Gary V, “Sell your shit!”

Don’t make social media ROI hard…

How much money and time did you spend on Facebook?

How revenue was generated that can be attributed to Facebook?

Boom… There’s your return on investment.

Thank you and Good luck,

I am Ryan Hanley and this is Content Warfare.

SPEAK YOUR MIND: Am I missing something? Am I completely off base with my depiction of measuring social media ROI?  How do you track social media ROI?