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Return on Influence: The Social Media ROI

RETURN ON INFLUENCE. In social media, this is the new ROI, and it's a term that represents qualitative results more than quantitative statistics.

Return on Influence is concerned with engagement, rather than the monetary investment and profits associated with social media metrics.

The social connections you make through your web strategy are at the core of your influence --- it's this strategy that affects the perceptions, attitudes and actions of your audience.

The first product that your web engagement should create is impact. Your impact is relative to your social media influence (new ROI), while standard ROI seeks to attribute a financial value (something that will typically be a secondary result of your social media efforts). These two ROI's require different perspectives when measuring a program's success, and for many, the assessment of return on influence is more telling than the return on investment. For example, let's look at volume.

Whether you're calculating Facebook fans, Twitter followers or website traffic, this metric can be seen in two ways:

  1. Return on Investment: i.e. How many facebook fans did you gain after spending $1,000 on a facebook ad campaign? Say you achieved 2,000 new 'likes' -- that would appear productive and efficient from a financial perspective. Your quantitative assessment = Sucess
  2. Return on Influence: i.e. If you achieved 2,000 new fans over the course of your $1,000 facebook ad campaign, how many of those 2,000 fans took the action you ultimately desire (shared your page, posted a comment, joined your contest, etc)? If only 400 of those new fans took action, you could assume your engagement is low, and therefore, could be improved since your ultimate objective should be to impact behaviors rather than just extend your reach. Your qualitative assessment = Needs improvement

Some other KPI's (key performance indicators) you can use to measure your Return on Influence include:

  • Participation Behavior
  • Brand Stature
  • Resonance
  • Loyalty
  • Advocacy

Join The Conversation

  • Jan 8 Posted 5 years ago shameerthaha

    Brilliant post but as @amarareps has rightly pointed out, most marketers and agencies are simply dodging that question because it doesn't show positive light or is hard to gather the information. 

    But the article as I understand sheds light on soft metrices which are an indication of the true ROI. Measuring simple reach does not translate to the desired outcome - increased profitability/ sales. The influence is a stronger indication of the propensity to purchase. This still needs to be proven by figures from reports. But given that the brands can cooperate by providing ample information and if the agency & current technologies facilitate tracking of zero moment of truth scenarios we would be in a better position to identify qualified leads. Final sales would still be a difficult element to track and can only be provided by point of sales. 

    I would love to hear more thoughts on this and help anyone who wants to plug this gap.


    Shameer | Twitter: @shameerthaha

  • Dec 18 Posted 5 years ago amaraREPS

    So, I guess my question is...what is the value of Return on Influence? I think we need to take this assessment a step further. CMOs want to know what all of this means. Measuring how many new Facebook fans the page has after spending $1,000 is kind of irrelevant. The real question is how many leads do I generate a month from new fans? How many sales do I make? Those are the real ROI questions imho. Otherwise, it has been in my experience that CMOs think that you are dodging the question and they don't seem to understand this stuff when our focus is growing a fan base and not growing the business... or not explaining how growing the fan base is/will grow the business.

    How does influence impact ROI, and don't tell me or any CEO for that matter that Influence is the new ROI, because to me its too much of a clouded statement.

    Care to shed some light on this subject? Maybe I'm understanding this post wrong...



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