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Social Media: What's the ROI of Not Doing It?

Social Media ROI is Not the Same as Social Media Value

It’s a simple concept, but many organizations struggle with the notion that every “Like” and every “Retweet” comes along with a dollar sign.  Instead, businesses need to understand that there is a chain of events that will lead to the dollar sign.  It isn’t going to happen overnight, but over the long-term, the value will become clearly visible.  When I am asked for the ROI of social media, I like to pose this question instead, “What’s the ROI of NOT doing it?”

To break down this diagram, I will like to split the Social Media ROI cycle into 5 key steps:

Awareness: Personally, I feel that this is the most important tool in creating a niche for any brand in this competitive market. The goal of a company here should be to educate and create the buzz of the products or services they offer. I can’t even count on two hands all of the fabulous brands I didn’t know about when I first joined Facebook. Yet, through the simple action of my friends “liking” the brand, I slowly became more aware of them. This awareness is the first step in the cycle, followed by me electing to engage with the brand by following them. Here is a million dollar question, What is it that you are offering will grab the attention of the consumers??

Engagement: The second part is focusing on the engagement part where the focus of a company should be to empower the consumers by letting them engage on various social media platforms in a way they feel most comfortable with. Let them build your brand, let them talk about your brand, let them spearhead the word of mouth. In the end, one has to realize that in social media it is the people who build your brand.

Trust: This step is in continuation to the engagement part in the cycle. The reason why I am saying so is because by empowering the consumers you are actually building trust and solidifying the brand in their eyes. This is one of the key steps where most organizations fail to realize its importance in determining the success of a brand in this multifaceted paced environment. My question to all the companies here is Why? Why will somebody choose their products or services over others’?? Well, the answer is simple, TRUST!

Conversion: This is the most crucial step which determines the ROI in any given company. If a company follows and focuses on the 3 steps mentioned above, I don’t see any reason why they won’t be able to convert their products or services into the dollar value. But, hold on! Is this the only thing that a company thrives on?? The answer to that is NO. There is one more step in this chain which determines the success and continuity of a company in a long run.

Retention: This is the answer to my question mentioned in the previous point. What is a goal of a company? Is it just to sell? “OR” Is it to sell and retain its loyal customers in order to thrive on success in a long run??
Personally, I will go with the later because people will always remember a company that came in business and had a lasting impact on the society rather than few who came and vanished in no time. To mention few companies that have been very successful in Social Media ROI are Coca-Cola, 1.800Flowers, Nike, Starbucks and many more.

The sooner you come to terms with the fact that social media is a fluid medium, the sooner you can quantify success. There is no one way to define success in the social space. There is no set dollar amount. There is no one parameter that will work for every brand. Every initiative within each organizations will be measured in a different way.

How does one campaign increase brand awareness? How does another build a qualified fan base? Establish what value you hope to receive with each social initiative, and how it aligns to the bigger picture of your investment, and you’re on your way to determining the ROI of social media.

Please feel free to provide your thoughts and feedback. Thank You!

Join The Conversation

  • Sid Gandotra's picture
    Nov 1 Posted 2 years ago Sid Gandotra

    Thanks Greg. I appreciate for taking out the time to read this article!

  • jghanks's picture
    Nov 7 Posted 4 years ago jghanks


    Thank you for looking at the ROI question from a different perspective and asking "“What’s the ROI of NOT doing it?” I've never encountered where someone has approached ROI from that angle and it really made me sit down and want to read your article. The advice you lay out is to the point and easy to follow. I especially like that you said "It isn’t going to happen overnight, but over the long-term, the value will become clearly visible." I think this is something more businesses need to see and understand.

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