‘Great numbers… but what is the real value of a like ex-ACT-ly?’ This can be a frustrating question, especially when you are so engaged in doing the things right and optimizing your online processes (AND… when someone accentuate the word ex-ACT-ly in an annoying way!) But let’s face it; it is an important question to answer! What is the value of your online engagement?  How do you calculate the ROI on social media?!

Not money
Before I assume that you all know what is meant with ‘Social media ROI’ a small definition: Social media ROI is what you get back from all the time, effort, and resources you commit to social. Second thing that is good to mention before we try to find an answer to this ROI-question; a lot of people reading this blog are part of a ministry and not into business. That means that the return you are looking for is most of the times not money. Still it is good to think about this question because it can help to understand if it was worth the money and effort you have invested so far!

ROI from a business point of view:

[stag_video src=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_2hlQBSv-Q”]

One of the most important aspects in this conversation is to have clear what your goal is. This can be different and even change with different social platforms. Facebook for instance helps you with suggesting ten different objectives for your advertising. Some ministries use social media to start conversations, get more web traffic, others to convert thinking or to change behavior. Once you have set a goal you created an important condition to evaluate upon, to say if things were worth the investment.

Deeper impact
You probably realize by now that when you talk about ‘return on investment’ is not always measurable in numbers and budget but can also be something less tangible and change from short-term to long-term. Short-term one double tap on Instagram (tap tap on a picture = liking it) can be nice, but if someone gives every update a double tap it tells something about deeper engagement and possibilities of deeper impact as well.

Maybe the real question to be answered is: do you realize the full potential of your ‘likes’? If so, the value can be priceless.

What matters
Not all ROI is direct, there can be a lot of good examples of ‘indirect’ ROI: people get used to your ‘brand’ presence for instance, they move closer to your pre-set goal or it can empower the traditional ways of communication you used so far in a new way. There are even people that say that you shouldn’t be measuring the ROI on social media platforms, but see the metrics that really matters like activity, impact, reach and ‘share of voice’ (how many people are talking about you).

Return on Engagement
If you want to say it very simple: a like for any ministry has NO value AT ALL … if there is no interaction to bring people into deeper engagement. Some don’t want to talk about ROI anymore, but prefer ROE. A term used in a research of Adobe: ‘Return on Engagement’. A like (or any other form of engagement) is only valuable if you cherish it and start interacting with it. In that sense there is a difference between potential value and realized value.

Maybe the real question to be answered is: do you realize the full potential of your ‘likes’? If so, the value can be priceless.

Image Return on investment by Simon Cunningham on flickr.com (common creative)
[Photo credit: LendingMemo.com

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