Calculating the ROI of Social Media

Calculating the ROI of Social Media

May 6, 2015
Business Skills

By Debora Hermele, SupermarketGuru Intern

Retail dietitians use social media for a variety of reasons – to promote programs and services, engage with and educate shoppers, and attract potential new health-minded shoppers.  In light of this, including social media metrics in your return-on-investment (ROI) measures is essential.  

To track the ROI of social media, start with your business mission and goals, ensuring your social media tactics and measures align with them.  Consider which social media outlets you use as well as how your programs and services impact your corporate sites.  For example, your retailer’s Facebook page may see an increase in “likes” after you conduct a community presentation or cooking class.  Understand your goals with the various sites – is it product promotion, increased participation in programs and services, or engagement with shoppers and consumers in your key markets?

Once you have a sense of what to track, consider these helpful tools available to track the metrics you are after: 

  • Google Analytics – Allows you to track sign-ups originated from social media, website traffic and on-site conversations. 
  • Hootsuite – Helps you to track brand growth, social demographics, and sentiment metrics. Creates detailed social reports. 
  • Track engagement through retweets on Twitter or shares on Facebook. This can be done with simple tools like Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics that track specific posts, and shows which ones your customers best respond to. 

When measuring likes on Facebook, and followers on Instgram, Twitter and your blog, remember to track this data over time.  Consider creating a tracking spreadsheet on which you identify monthly measures as well as measurements associated with specific events and activities.  Calculate quarterly, annual and 3-5 year metrics to communicate as a part of your annual performance review as well as in justification of your services and programs.  Also consider how you tie social media hits to tangible metrics like product sales or increased customers.  For example, if you promote locally grown produce items through a blog and social media, track the in-store sales of these items.

When considering the impact of social media, it’s essential to consider the costs as an element of the true ROI.  To do this, factor in all your costs – your time, other expenses, any promotional fees.  Then, calculate the true ROI of social media using this equation:

ROI= (Benefits-Costs *100) / Costs = Percentage return on the investment costs.

Measuring and evaluating the ROI of social media is the only way to assess if it’s a valuable use of the retail dietitian’s time as well as whether it is impacting your retailer’s goals and objectives.