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Return on investment isn’t a new concept. It is the measure of the effectiveness of a marketing strategy, represented as a percentage of positive or negative growth. For some areas of marketing, putting ROI into concrete figures is pretty black and white (and hopefully not red). For others, it can be more challenging to pinpoint efficacy. Social media marketing is a perfect example of this. 

For social media marketing, the amount of return your business receives may be hard to determine. The efficacy of a social media campaign often cannot be defined in such substantial terms, because a social media marketing strategy in many businesses involves more than a simple exchange of money. It’s true that as a part of your marketing strategy, social media can help increase visits and generate leads. However, this may only be part of a bigger picture that you, as a business owner, have for your organization.

Is social media ROI the number of Twitter followers you have? Is it the number of likes your Facebook page receives on a consistent basis? Not necessarily. 

Social media ROI is not a measure of popularity. It’s a measure of efficacy. If you only have a handful of followers, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve invested too much time or money into your social media campaign. In order to track your ROI, you need to consider the desired end – your social media goals. Are you trying to increase the number of patient visits? Are you trying to fulfill needs that are otherwise going unmet? Are you offering a better solution to a problem? You must understand your intent before you can attach a value to it.

If you haven’t identified what that intent is for your organization, right now is the perfect time to get started. Strategic marketing means putting deep thought into every marketing tactic you initiate. It means consistently measuring efficacy and pivoting as needed to get the greatest return for your marketing dollar. Being successful in social media means starting with a vision. That vision will help you determine social media ROI.