Social Media Management ROI: Breaking it Down

Lithium Alumni (Retired)


Social ROI is often looked at through a single lens: investment put in and received back. In reality, it is not so simple. There are different views depending on the desired outcomes.


We sat down with Lithium’s Lead Business Value Engineer, Grigor Kotzev (@GrigorK), to break down the three primary paths of Social Media Management ROI: funnel view, brand view, and capacity view.


When configuring what to track, ask yourself the following questions to help guide yourself in measuring the most effective activities to prove your social ROI.



Funnel View is revenue driven: people use it to measure the impact of social on the actual sales converted. This view tracks a sales funnel from the broader reach (like addressable market individuals) down to the actual sales made.


Ask yourself:

Reach: How much of your target audience – fans, prospects, customers – are you reaching with your social media message? How many impressions are you getting?

Engagement: How many interactions of any type did you get on the number of impressions of your message? This could be broken down to different sub-levels:

Conversations: Number of conversations per social media post. On Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn: comments. On Twitter: replies.

Amplification: Number of re-shares or retweets on average for each post.

Applause: Depending on the platform, it’s the various ways a user can promote a post on different networks—Retweets, Likes, +1s, etc.

Lead Generation: How many leads do you get from Social Media platforms?

Conversion: How many of those Social Media leads convert?



The Brand View is all about brand awareness and its perception in the social world. This is popular among our competitors, especially those with listening capabilities on top of reach and response. Lithium, particularly, focuses on the "Influencers" segment of this view.


Ask yourself:

Influencers Reach: How much “influence” are you getting with your social media messages? Similar to the Reach Metric in “Funnel View,” but targeting to Influencers as the overall audience does not necessarily relate to influence.

Share of Voice: How many mentions are brand mentions versus competitive brands?

Brand Sentiment: How many mentions are positive, negative, or neutral?



Capacity View is cost drive. People use this to measure the impact of social on optimizing their costs. Basically, they are asked to do more with less, like cutting the budget by 20% while doing 10% more campaigns, or addressing 10% more support inquiries on social media.


Ask yourself:

Global Time to Market: How much time does the organization need to run a campaign?

Global Capacity: How many global activities – campaigns or replies – can the organization efficiently operate at once?

Individual Capacity: How many individual activities – campaigns or replies - can a marketer or an agent operate?


With any of these three approaches – Funnel View, Brand View and Capacity View - it becomes clear that ROI comes in many shapes and forms.


In particular, we should always work hard to distinguish Benefits (increasing any of the metrics mentioned) from ROI (increasing the bottom line KPIs or actual monetary benefits).


Check out how Post Office UK has proven their Social Marketing ROI with Lithium Reach.


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