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  • Lindsay

Getting Social Media Return on Investment

How much time and money do you spend on social media marketing? Do you know if you get a return on that investment? As with anything in marketing, it’s vital to understand the value of the activity to find out, not only if it’s working, but if it’s worth doing at all.

The most basic rule in marketing is that you need to understand what you want to achieve before you execute any actions. Fundamentally, if you don’t know what you want to achieve then how on earth do you expect to get any results? You just end up marketing for the sake of marketing, hoping something will come out of it.

I don’t want to go into too much detail about marketing strategy and planning, but before you even begin to think about your next post on social media – or any marketing task for that matter – take a few minutes to consider what it is you want to get out of it. Is it generally to promote your brand? Do you want more leads? Do you want to grow online sales or perhaps encourage people to visit your shop in person? Are you launching a new product? Or are you trying to grow market share? Whatever it might be, have a clear objective in mind.

Now before you start to type a single word or utter your opening line on video, think about whether what you’re about to do will actually help you reach your goal. For example, if you want to get more leads in, how is the piece of content you’re about to put out there going to help achieve that? Make sure everything you do is focused on achieving your objective.

Engagement is Meaningless

I often hear people boast about how much engagement they've had on their posts. They had 3000 views, 600 likes, 50 shares or 25 comments. But so what? What does that actually mean?

The only thing – absolutely the only thing – that matters is whether you’ve reached your goal or not. If your goal was to get 600 likes, well done. But how does that benefit your business? Your goal needs to be more tangible. How are sales going of that new product? How many actual leads are you getting in? Is your market share growing?

It is far better to have 2 likes that both convert into customers than 600 likes just for the sake of it. Whilst you could argue high engagement might signal effectiveness, the only effectiveness that really matters is how it’s affecting your bottom line. That’s what you need to measure as that is your return on investment.

A shop with 1000 people in it who buy nothing will ultimately have to close down. Looking busy means nothing. Sales are what matter.


Very few people see something once and buy straight away. Maybe in the FMCG world, but not elsewhere. Therefore, when it comes to measuring, it’s wise to track the full journey rather than just look at how many posts you’ve put out there and how many sales you’ve had since.

Think about the journey your customers will go through. Firstly, they’ll see your post. If people are interested, they may not like, share or comment, but may instead just click on a link to find out more. Therefore, having a call to action on relevant posts can be very useful. Have a link to your website and then track through something like Google Analytics to see how many people have visited your site from the different social media platforms.

It might be beneficial to have a specific landing page that you only use for social media marketing tracking. Only people who click on the link will get to that page. This means you won’t only easily be able to see how many people are going to that page, but you’ll be able to track very easily what they do next. For all the people who have visited the specific page, how many other pages of your website did they look at and how long did they spend on the site? If people are only spending 10 seconds on the page before leaving your website completely, you know there’s something wrong. The landing page will need drastically improving.

Or go a step back. If no one is even visiting the landing page, your social media posts need improving.

Moving forward, take a look at how many people visit your contact page from the landing page, and then how many people actually end up contacting you. Then track what happens after that. How many people were interested, actually contacted you, but still didn’t buy in the end? Where are things going right and what are the issues?

Through your carefully designed system of tracking, you will be able to reliably say you know exactly what return on investment you’ve got. You’ll also be able to confidently tweak the areas of weakness as you’ll know where all the pitfalls are. It’s not even that difficult. It’s just about starting with the end in mind and working backwards. Think about how your customers go from knowing nothing about you to buying from you, and put in ways to track the flow.

Next time you think to yourself that your social media post has really worked because you’ve got a lot of engagement, ask yourself whether it’s actually aided your business and then decide if the post has worked or not. Engagement is meaningless without any return on investment.

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