19 Mar 2021

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 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 helping you achieve your objective.

Engagement is Meaningless

I often hear people boast about how much engagement they have 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 that 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. Think about how they go from knowing nothing about you to buying from you, and put in ways to track the flow. Are they visiting your website? If so, are they staying for long, looking around, actually reading your blogs or watching your videos? If no one is interested in what you have to say, you know that something is going wrong and you can amend it to get it right. But if you don't track things, you'll never know where to improve.

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.

Lindsay Woodward
Lindsay Woodward Marketing