What I am going to address in this article is the concept of Social Media return on investment and how to get a better return for all that time and energy you spend using social media.

So often, I hear many whispers from my peers that they are blogging to get more visible because that’s what everyone has told them to do. So they jump on social media, showing how “cool” they are by sharing motivational posts. But the cooler you try to be the less cool you become (believe me as a mum of teenagers I know).

I am not down with the kids and I’ve learnt to live with it, and I have also learnt to leverage it to my advantage.

Unfortunately, the same “living with it, leveraging” mentality cannot be said about everybody.

So instead of being “cool”, (last time I checked there was cryptocurrency, not cool currency), why not join me in uncool land and get back to the business of using social media as a tool that gives you a clear return on investment.

Why am I talking about social media ROI (which I will be referring to as #SMROI throughout this article)?

social media return on investment

88% of marketers want to know how to measure their return on investment for social media activities. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)

If marketers don’t know how to measure, you can imagine how many business owners struggle

I have learnt that as a business owner you need to be well rounded and know just enough to delegate effectively while being on the ball to know what metrics matter because it could mean the difference between a profitable business and one that is on the verge of closing.

Everyone else that does not want to know how to get more clarity on SMROI, to quote my teenage daughter ‘good thing this is not for you, sis’.

So let’s look at these 3 common reasons for not getting a clear return on investment.

Reason #1 why your social media channels aren’t giving you a clear Social Media ROI is…


If you have no idea what social media ROI is then here is a simple calculation:

Return on Investment (ROI) is: ROI(%) = Net Profit / Total Investment * 100.

And if you’re a small business owner still thinking that social media ROI sounds complicated, or that I am speaking another language, don’t fret you’re not alone I am here to make understanding social media ROI as simplistic and chilled as possible.

Let’s debunk the myth that everyone knows what they are doing when it comes to social media ROI.

60% of marketers see ‘measuring ROI’ as one of their top three social media marketing challenges.

50% say ‘tying social media activities to business outcomes’ is challenging (E Consultancy)

Did you know that even marketers who are supposed to measure return as part of the value they provide, are not sure about the impact of social media on a business’s bottom line?

“46% of B2B marketers say they’re not sure whether any social channels have generated business revenue.

In fact, I have been told by other business owners that their business consultants have advised them that social media is for awareness and that they shouldn’t expect sales from social media.

To be clear, if you are investing time and money on social media, expect a return, yes be expectant on some form of revenue or don’t do it. The main paradigm shift business owners need to make is that SMROI is free.


Finding the total cost you spend per social media channel (i.e. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.), should include (but is not limited to):

  1. The number of labour hours and total cost of labour hours (including those ongoing sales & marketing team meetings)
  2. The cost of creating/developing your social media brand & visual bible
  3. The cost of scheduling and analytic tools etc…

These are just a few investments businesses make that form part of the investment part of the social media ROI calculation.

Why can it be dangerous not knowing how your company measures social media ROI?

Imagine you or your team was ploughing 30 hours of their time on social media activities per month.

You got 200 likes


2% extra traffic

No leads

No sales

It cost you £20,000 over a period of one month when you calculate the resources used.

Would that be a positive social media ROI?


The likelihood of the person who spent that much time on social meeting keeping their jobs is slim, the likelihood of you having a profitable business is even less.

64% of marketers are using social media for six hours or more and 41% for 11 or more hours weekly (Social Media Examiner, 2015) so any business that is not seeing a return from the hours used should be questioning whether they need to change their strategy.


After you know the growth goals you can determine if you have the resources to hit certain team key performance indicators (KPI’S) and make a decision to bring in people to fill in the gaps if you don’t have the resource.

From what I have talked about so far, I believe likes &comments are not buying signals and they are not enough to drive sales. Other sales strategies like conversion rate optimisation (#CRO) will be needed to improve user experience and have to be looked at holistically in order for any investment in social media to be effective.

Social Media ROI updates should be delivered like improv comedy

No, I haven’t lost my mind, what I mean is that social media ROI updates should be quick and painless like Improv…

When someone creates a reality in improv comedy your job is to extend the conversation, to join them in their reality instead of bringing them out of it. A conversation killer can include words like…

Then we.



When I first started comedy Improv I learnt about the use of the rule of AND.

This rule of And can be applied on social media ROI, so when someone says we have this many likes, you say…AND_______.

Here are a few examples…

We have 3000 new video views AND 7% more #sales.

We have 7000 new visitors from LinkedIn AND 4% increase in lead #conversion.

We have 1million new video views AND 25% in new sales AND 12% increase in upsell revenue

So that’s how you deliver social media ROI,  quick & painless using comedy improv.

Now finding out if that increase in sales can be attributed to social media (and what specific channel), that’s where your analytics, tracking software & customer relationship management tools (CMS) comes in.


Just like the ones I mentioned in my improv comedy example

Reason# 2 why your social media channels aren’t giving you a clear social media ROI is…


This is known as the buyer’s journey, the journey is not as linear as some think, you may have a plan as to how you ideal customer walks, talks or acts when it comes to interacting with your brand.

But in reality, they are going to do what the heck they want. Your job is to love how weirdly human they are and find solutions that make sure the experience for your customer/potential customer is always ends up in a win-win scenario.

Recently people have been connecting with me on Facebook (now I can guess why there has been an increase in friend requests, but I am not complaining, I find humans fascinating).

But I have learnt to have a system (because time is money people, I am not on Facebook for dates).

When I read messages that finish with xx

I get the feeling they are not here for business.

With that intel I then know how to respond to them, where to route them, set them straight and advise I am not here for that. I have a plan. The plan: I subsequently block them if they don’t listen.

How Businesses Are Getting A Clear Social Media ROI

BT’ had a plan (which unlike mine, avoids the awkwardness), because they understood the buyer’s journey (how people interacted with their brand) and knew something needed to be fixed.

social media return on investment

BT saved £2m per year by routing around 600,000 contacts per year through social media instead of its call centres. This also improved the customer experience, as these people preferred to deal with BT via social instead of phone or email.

You can optimise the journey of your potential customer by leveraging tools within the social media platform you’re using.

jimmy choo social media return on investment

Another example of brands that have done this is Jimmy Choo who used Twitter to geo-locate and feature upscale stores where its sneakers were available. The move increased its sneaker sales by over 33 per cent and saw a 40 per cent increase in positive tweets and mentions about the brand.

Utilising social media to increase return on investment, stops potential customers guessing what your next move is, they will have greater clarity on where you want them to go, so you can see a clearer return on investment.

If people have questions, go through your FAQ, want to jump on a discovery call that is a stronger indication of a buying intention, so mapping out a path/funnel for all angles so this can happen is critical.

The bottom line is this, using social media channels in a creative way to fix problems with your buyer’s journey/overall user experience will ultimately increase SMROI.

Have you taken note? Ready for the third & final one?

 3. Reason #3 why your social media channels aren’t giving you a clear social media ROI is…


Recently I tried to go down the natural hair journey, I lost a lot of hair transitioning from permed to natural. My hair got matted, became dreaded and I went through an OMG should I just cut it all off stage.

It was painful, but I survived the transition, I just went back to my why, why the heck am I doing this?

If I was to do it again would I change a thing? (if you’re looking for, a mature oh no, sorry but)…

Erm no, no ring light prize for you

When it comes to going from chemically treated hair to natural, it’s not as easy as it looks, I would have definitely have got some help (youtube is not the best friend I thought it was).

Often times I hear people going through DIY when it comes to social media, they will search online, learn new tactics, but soon learn everything is information and is useless without strategic implementation.

The truth of the matter is that a lot of the information out there doesn’t tell the whole story and often these tactics need real testing to see traction.

Social Media ROI Using A Multi-Prong Approach

Strategic implementation would include involving tactics like social selling A Forbes study found that reps using social media as part of their sales techniques outsell 78% of their peers.

  • A lead developed via social media is 7x more likely to close (IBM)
  • Organisations using social selling have seen a 10-20% increase in win rate, 20-30% acceleration in cycle time, and 10-15% increase in revenue (KISSMetrics)

The right help is often gained by stepping back and asking what do I need?

  • When I go to Netflix I know I am looking to watch episodes of Suits and How to Get Away with Murder.
  • When I go on Amazon I know I am looking for episodes of Cloak and Dagger, Unreal & The Bold Type.
  • When I shop at Waitrose I am looking to buy Lemon Yum Yums.

In order to get what you want, you must know what you need, quality over quantity, conversion over vanity metrics, taste over blandness.

I always find that it is better to have no likes/comments and someone to message me directly with a joint partnership offer, a genuine need for my service (with buy-in) and reduce the close rate.

That to me is how I like to see a positive return on my efforts from social media.

So there you have it if you want to have a clearer return on investment when it comes to social media ROI in summary…

1) Track The Right Metrics

2) Be Clear On The Buyers Journey

3) Get The Right Help

What are your thoughts on Social Media ROI? How do you measure it? Like and comment on this article I would love to hear your thoughts


P.S. This article originally appered on ruth-ellen.com


  • Ruth-Ellen

    Alignment Coach | Intersectionist


    Ruth-Ellen believes no man, woman or child should be born into poverty or social exclusion because of their label, after all, labels are for jars, not people. She is on a mission to help people raise their awareness, heal and live aligned lives so that they can go from tolerating themselves and others to celebrating themselves and others. She lives in London, UK with her son Shaiheim and daughter Sapphia. #labelsareforjarsnotpeople