Social media can have a number of different ROI, from simple exposure to actual sales. However, most SMBs still underuse social media and see visibility as the major (and only) ROI of social media.

SMBs still unsure about social media ROI

Social media can benefit business sales in various forms, but business acceptance of social strategies is not uniformly accepted. As shown in data from PageModo, only 12 percent of small business owners think it is a must, and 24 percent do it when they have the time. A section of smaller brands - 14 percent - say they don’t know enough about social media. Marketers may be failing to use SM properly, or are not sure how to adequately measure its return-on-investment. In 1 of 3 surveys, “marketers say measuring ROI is among top questions about social media,” and only 33 percent of online retailers have metrics in place to track social media ROI.

Measuring the impact starts with relevant criteria

If marketers identify the goals of a social media strategy, tracking its impact is more effective. Increased exposure is often considered a key indicator of success - over half of businesses now use social media, and 88 percent of these brands say exposure is the biggest benefit. Depending on the industry, social media generates varying amounts of traffic, in one example study increase was 300 percent. To measure exposure, brands should track traffic increases and where new visitors hyperlink from. If they check how many times material has been shared and use Google Alerts to find out when brand is mentioned, the results become visible.

From an increase in visibility to a boost in sales

Increased search ranking directly impacts leads or increases site subscribers in nearly equal percentages. This is the second more important goal to marketers that launch a social campaign. They measure its success by monitoring keywords, tracking trends of organic search traffic and recording percentages that converts into qualified leads are ways to quantify results. Exposure and ranking affect bottom-line ROI, the cumulative goal of most social campaigns. Generating sales from social media is not easy but if companies put time in, it can be effective. Half of marketers that spend over 11 hours per week report success in increasing sales. Given the importance of social strategy, we can expect more metric services in the near future.

By Ivory King