FUSE FRIDAY’S: Is Social ROI a $ Figure

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V Energy’s most recent Facebook post could be one of the most successful posts by any Australian brand, with over 100,000 shares and 13,598,720 impressions. Simply put, it was the result of momentary opportunism, executed in less than 5 minutes.

It was content guaranteed to engage any gender, any age, in any part of the world and whilst the number crunchers are probably still trying to calculate its return on investment, we all know that it was worth it, and it highlighted that with the right content, Facebook organic reach is far from dead.

So how do you put a dollar figure on this success and demonstrate ROI? You can put forward it’s equivalent value in paid media dollars based on its reach (estimated at $150k +) but what about ROI for V Energy against the ongoing investment in Community Management?

Understandably this is an unsettling notion for most CMOs, despite their confidence that Social Media is increasing brand awareness, brand loyalty and ultimately, sales. This is probably one reason why googling ‘ROI Social Media’ returns over 28,200,000 results.

There are of course exceptions to this with clients such as betting agencies or online retailers that can track through to purchase, but for the most part, the imperative notion is the opportunity cost of not being where your brand audience is spending their time… a lot of time… How much time? Facebook reports that 1 in 5 minutes of your average day is spent using one of their Social Media products, which is a whole lot of time.

This exposes a flaw because ‘experts’ would have you believe that concepts such as increasing dwell time from 2mins to 3mins is a priority. But honestly when it comes to the dynamic and almost schizophrenic nature of the digital ecosystem, it doesn’t matter… And as social communications specialists we know that this space is optimised for 10-15 seconds of permissive interaction. Proof of this can be seen in the algorithms of major social media platforms on a daily basis, and this is why applying traditional models of ROI to brands on social media is challenging to say the least.

So if you need to measure the ROI on social media, you may need to consult the long tail ideologies of brand perception and affinity, as an example. However, if you need a short term solution just look at the emotional response of your community manager to a post and observe the time it takes to email, if necessary pick up and phone, the client.

In my opinion, as feedback I’d say to the ‘experts’, stop holding back, trying to crunch the numbers and get out there because you’ve got to be in it to win it. The opportunity cost of not positioning your brand where your target market are engaged and spending a majority of their time, proves that the common debate of social ROI can take a backseat. It’s time to accept that creating content that resonates and creates an emotional response from your audience, inspiring them to share within their personal network, is simply too much of an opportunity to ignore.

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