The obvious answer to this return conundrum would seem to be sales leads and any associated costs. Surely it is really as simple as time and the money spent on advertising campaigns, allocating internal resources or outsourcing social media management, but from where I stand I do not believe this can be so cut and dried.
I recently had a meeting where I was asked (only half-jokingly) if I had a magic potion that would double the clients business; this is not a particular rare request. I also find that often when managing social media accounts for clients that requesting information from the company in terms of news, events and images; the request is, initially, often one met with surprise that having outsourced the social media their input does not stop there.
However, this can often be difficult to measure and tends to not be an overnight success story.
The true investment in social media is money and time. Time to curate relevant quality content, time to investigate what matters to your audience, time to engage with your audience and time to cultivate long-term quality engagement which will lead to sales and the creation of brand ambassadors.
Social media is a fantastic way to showcase your company, product or service. However, as with any aspect of your business you need to set realistic goals from number of followers, engagement and enquiry levels through to sales figures. These should be your measures on ROI but are often overlooked by businesses who are aware that they should be “doing” social media, but not entirely sure why or what to expect.
Taking the time to create a content strategy is a well advised practice to ensure both a clear ROI and targets to measure it by.