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A Practical Approach to ROI in Social Media

A strong social media presence can be a good way of generating business, but is there a way to clearly track how our hours spent cultivating the perfect content translate into new leads?

ROI means ‘return on investment’. Social media ROI represents the return on investment from your organisation’s social media activities. Historically it’s been a difficult thing to track and prove, especially since a lot of social media return is based on personal relationships and is long-term. Broadly speaking to calculate your ROI, you divide the overall value by the investment and times by 100.

Sounds easy enough, but how exactly can you figure out a total monetary figure for both your personal value and investment? Let’s take a look at what each of them can entail.


What defines value will be different depending on your goals. These can include:

  • New followers
  • Link clicks
  • Online purchase
  • Contact form submission
  • Signups for newsletter
  • Downloads
  • Time spent on a particular webpage

Once you have a goal, there are a lot of tools you can use to track different forms of value:

  • Social Media Built-In Platform Analytics Tools
    • Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all have tools that you can use to track likes, retweets, shares, new page follows over time and overall reach.
  • Google Analytics
    • This is a free powerful source to get clear figures on form submissions, traffic, page views and conversion rates


These tools can help to give you additional metrics such as:

  • Average sale price
  • Lifetime value per customer
    • This can then be used with the data to establish a monetary value i.e. if you can see that 1 in 10 people that view your blog post becomes a customer and your average lifetime value per customer is £100, then the value of someone viewing the post is £10.

To take a full value example, if your goal is to get more online purchases, then your main value metric will come from the number of purchases made as a result of clicking on a post link. If you see that half of clicks result in a sale, and the average sale price per customer is £5, then each post view is worth £2.50 in value. BUT that doesn’t factor in the very human element of social media, that of making a personal connection. The blog post that you write may not directly convert into a sale, but someone may remember your name as a result and months later could act or recommend you to someone else.

So, it can easily become quite tricky to track an exact figure. This is why it’s important to always think long-term with social media ROI. ‘Untrackable’ data such as the previous example can be gathered through customer feedback surveys and social media polls. You can also use your previous experience to estimate a figure for a certain value.

Using a combination of all of these methods will allow you to capture whether you are hitting your goals and will also highlight any additional value that your social media efforts can bring.


Investment is an easier thing to quantify, simply tracking and adding hours spent on social media then multiplying them by an hourly rate to get a clear figure. Activities can include:

  • Cost of tools
  • Paid advertisements
  • Planning and content creation

Once you have your figures, you can divide the value by the investment to see a clear ROI figure. This may seem complicated, and it is! But by regularly tracking your social media strategy in this way you can tailor your approach to what works!