10 Reasons to Eat ROI for Breakfast in Social Media

social media roi for breakfastSocial media is free, right? Simply sign up for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.  Enter some data for your profile, add a photo for your avatar, dump your email contacts and find connections and you're set. All you have to do now is tweet, Facebook and you'll be popular online and increase revenue 1000% because you're “doing social media.”

Sorry folks, social media isn't free. Yes, you can setup your social network profiles with no explicit charge. However, even with that you're spending time doing such. Time is of our greatest asset and we all know it's not free.

I see many business leaders frustrated they aren't seeing any return on their investment on social media.  Usually when you do the “double click” to find out why the majority of them aren't seeing results you find they lack goals, objectives, a plan, or forecasted return on investment (ROI) of any kind.

Question: How can you expect to have results with anything in business without goals, objectives, a plan and measurements?

The only way you are going to see real results in social media is with the development of an integrated plan, objectives and goals.

For those of us who work in marketing and social media it's time we start eating ROI for breakfast. It's time we teach our clients, colleagues and business partners to do the same.

10 Reasons You Should be Eating ROI For Breakfast:

1. The social currency of online marketing is action. If your audience is not taking action in social media what is it all for? How do you know what action you want them to take? What will that action do for your business? If we focus on the action then we are required to have a supporting plan, goals, objectives and measurement. Ever since I first heard Brian Solis mention his thoughts around the social currency of online marketing being action, I haven't been able to get it out of my head.

2. Without ROI you will not be in business or may not have a job in one or two years. If you are not producing a return on your investment including financial, time, people and any resource you are unlikely to be around in a year or two from now. We all know the state of the economy. Every dollar, hour and resource matters. Why not make it work for you and measure the result so you can improve or repeat if it's producing a positive return?

3. Hope is not a strategy. Sorry, sending inspirational tweets to your followers or chatting about your Saturday night parties constantly and hoping your audience will eventually buy something from you isn't going to get you there.  We have received several leads the past few weeks as a result of our competitors doing such. Our new clients told us they were turned off by the lack of focus of several other agencies. They liked that we practiced what we preach and that we eat, teach and live ROI in all we do.

4. Eating ROI for breakfast means you have your pulse on the action your audience is taking. You're working within a plan and constantly evaluating your performance against goals and objectives you have set. Social media is constantly evolving. Keeping a focus on ROI and your audience helps you keep the pulse on the ever changing ecosystem of people, technology and conversation.

5. You need to be a good ROI teacher. Your audience, business partners, colleagues, and clients should have a focus on measurable results too. Why not be a leader and teach them that hard work pays off and out beats the lazy random tweet my day away social strategy.  If you're a social media agency or consultant doing such will help you attract the clients who also want to focus on business results.

6. Tweets are cheap and easy! Because social media has the perception of being “cheap and easy” it is even more important you help your clients, partners and stakeholders understand the importance of a plan, goals, objectives and ROI! How many nights have you logged on to Facebook or Twitter to do “one small thing?”  Yet you wind up spending an hour or two surfing, fixing up your Facebook business landing tab that didn't need fixing, chatting with friends and doing a million things that are not bringing the highest ROI? Even those of us in the business fall to this. It's even more tough for those new to social media. It's easy to feel that you're making progress in social media when in reality you're not.

7. ROI requires you to look at more than number of Twitter followers and Facebook likes. It's what happens after the Facebook like that matters. Does your new Facebook liker ever come back to visit your page? Or were they a one night, one time liker that you'll never see again?  As mentioned in #1, unless your audience is taking action you are unlikely to obtain a positive return on investment with social media. Quality of audience and engagement matters. Yes, we want to have a large following, a page full of Facebook likers. However, I'd much rather have fewer likers and followers that are engaged, having a conversation with me, interested in my content and taking action that moves my business forward. A focus on followers and “likers” only will give you a false sense of success. As a result when it comes time to balance the checkbook at month, quarter and year end you will realize those supposed friends didn't do much for your business.

8. Hang out with 9 “brokes” and you'll be the 10'th broke. It's important you not fall prey to those around you who believe ROI only requires retweets, late night twitter conversations and sharing of your favorite party videos and photos on Facebook. By eating ROI for breakfast you're going to attract those who do the same. Focus on building relationships with those who also know how to more than spell ROI. Join or start a mastermind, meetup or other group to connect with like minds if you're currently finding fellow ROI lovers few and far between.

9. ROI eats Random Acts of Marketing (RAMs) for lunch! Eliminate the randomness from your marketing and business efforts. By focusing on ROI, an integrated plan and goals you are better able to make data driven decisions. ROI better empowers you to make the hard decisions. If you are truthful in your measurement of goals and objectives with social media it will be easier to make the tough decisions. It takes the emotion out of letting the intern go who decreased your brand equity with the late night Saturday tweet mistakenly sent from your business Twitter account. It becomes easier to cancel a campaign that isn't delivering return. RAMs are bad, ROI is good!

10.  ROI tastes good! To me there is nothing better than seeing and tasting success from the careful execution of a well laid out plan. Yes, we must be dynamic but that's what makes it taste so good in the end. Once you taste it you'll want more and more. As you start to see results from investing more time up front in planning and setting goals you'll become addicted if you're not already. You'll wonder how you survived for so long without ROI.


Your Turn

So what are you eating for breakfast? Are you already eating ROI and seeing results? Are you ready to make ROI a main course meal? What are your clients, partners and colleagues doing? What are the tactics you have implemented to bring the highest ROI in social media and business?


About the Author:

CEO / Founder Marketing Nutz, full service social media, digital marketing, experiential brand, conversion optimization agency. Ranked by Forbes as Top 10 Social Media Women and 10 Social Media Power Influencer. Keynote speaker, author, strategist, consultant, coach, & trainer. Helps businesses of all sizes integrate social media into the DNA of their business, connect with target audiences to nurture authentic customer relationships. 15+ years experience working with Fortune 500, Franchised corporations with 4000+ local franchises to entrepreneurs and startups.


  1. Roberta Budvietas March 27, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Really interesting perspective. Just having the web page, social media site or flyer does not get you business. Story never changes, just the tool. Need to digest this blog more. Thanks

    • PamMktgNut April 19, 2011 at 10:54 pm

      Thanks Roberta! Yes, very true. Story doesn’t change. Social relationships are the life raft to changing tech!

  2. Jude Torley March 28, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Hi Pam great article and a breath of fresh air within the corridor of social media. What analytical tools would you recommend to help measure ROI for breakfast 🙂 We typically use Facebook insights Hootsuite etc. Was wondering if you have a different approach or better tools. Thanks again for sharing.

    • PamMktgNut April 19, 2011 at 10:54 pm

      Yes, there are many tools. It depends on what your goals are. Are you spending the majority of efforts on FAcebook, Twitter or both. Most of the platforms have insights with some demographics. There are several good free tools as well. I’m working on a blog post to summarize some of them that will launch in the next couple of wks. Depends on what your objectives are. If you are trying to grow your blog readership then the measurements will be different then if you are trying to drive sales on Facebook. For example I have a goal to make it to the AdAge Power 150 this year. To get there many things need to happen including brand awareness (which isn’t a financial measurement yet I can measure it to some degree at least on the social platforms), community development on all platforms, content that inspires etc. So some of the metrics I look at are on each of the platforms as well as the blog user behavior.

      There are some good paid platforms for measurement as well. ARgyle Social, Radian6 and Webtrends all have platforms. If you can share a bit more about what you’re looking for I can probably help.

      Thanks for your comment!

  3. Rick Demko March 28, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Amen Pam! Sometimes we all need a little reminder that social media, to be used in the marketing sense, action needs to take place. I think that some companies are just so happy to be in the social media bubble that they forget it doesn’t magically put money in the bank.. It’s just a tool to do business they way we alwasy have, just more effeicntly.

    Great post.

    • PamMktgNut April 19, 2011 at 10:49 pm

      Amen Rick! Yes, some metrics are measurable in financial return, others in non-financial. It’s so important for biz leaders to look at the WHY they are doing something. Regardless if it is financial or a non-financial metric, the reason why will tell you if it’s the right thing to do. If there is not a business justification then it’s probably not a good spend of time or resource!

      Thanks for your comment!

  4. patmcgraw April 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Pam, great post.

    Over the past few years, I have had about half a dozen C-level executives tell me with great pride the social media is free – as they introduce me to their SM staff (usually 2 to 4 full time employees with workspace, computers, phones….).

    But the bottom line is that your organization needs to generate a profitable return. The ‘secret’ of social media is understanding that social media is nothing more than a communications channel that provides you with the opportunity to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time via the right channel.

    Tying the message with the audience and their position in the buying process is primary – then selecting the best channel to deliver that message comes into play. For example, when generating qualified leads, your message should be more educational vs. sales-oriented – so white papers, a series of blog posts or a webinar may be the most effective ways to attract and capture names/contact information at acceptable rates. (I recently helped a company with a webinar that generated more than 1,000 leads at a fraction of the cost they normally pay for leads.)

    Later, as the relationship develops and the lead moves through the buying process, the sales team can use videos, webinars with content that more appropriate for someone closer to buying. For example, a more detailed product demonstration with an offer to act within a specific time frame in order to earn some type of reward with high value can have a fantastic impact on conversion rates.

    Oh, one last point – and this is about the offers. Be creative. Stop repeating the same ol’ 20% off. Think of your favorite airline and how valuable it is to you to be able to get on the place first. Now remember that it costs the airline absolutely nothing. High perceived value at low/no actual cost – that’s the best offer.

    Anyway, I ramble. Great post and I look forward to more comments. Pat

    • PamMktgNut April 19, 2011 at 10:48 pm

      Pat – great points. I love your analogy about the tour of the staff office etc. So true and I’ve also seen the same. They all show up to meetings with us and wonder what we’ve done for them, what their password is to Twitter etc.even though they’re the one who set it up.

      YOu get what you put into social media. If you don’t put anything social with effort well, you’re likely to get a dried up egg for return 😉

      Thanks again for your comment and for stopping by!

  5. ed han April 13, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Pam, that’s superb & I wish I’d seen this when it first went up! Fantastic title, great execution all the way through. Well done!

  6. Maya Fayfer May 14, 2011 at 7:57 pm

     Social Media is not that big on ROI. Give me true numbers on the true success ratio. It’s “to make it more popular goal”, but nothing besides it.

  7. […] “10 Reasons to Eat ROI for Breakfast in Social Media” by Pam Moore […]

  8. ISpeakSEO October 11, 2011 at 7:53 am

    If you go into social media without huge expectations, it just might surprise you. Follow the rules and don’t hard sell, or alienate anyone, and you will find Twitter particularly, but all social media platforms in general, great places to network, and great places to learn about business, about yourself, and about your target market.

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