By Ronja Gustavsson

March 5th, 2014

Forget social goals and start talking about enterprise goals

Social ROI is regular ROI; input and output. The only difference is that you need to understand how to navigate social to be able to reach your goals. Thinking about social as just another sales channel will not be a benefit in the long run.

First, you need to ask yourself how social media aligns to support your organizational objectives. This is a crucial step.  Without clear vision and objectives, you will not have a clear overview of which KPIs to focus on. Instead, you’ll be focused on less valuable data in order to justify your social efforts.

As with any other business venture, social needs a well-defined purpose, and becoming a social business is no different.

Many companies have been poking a stick at social media for a while now. They may subsequently have discovered that they “kind of” have a social media strategy, but if it’s not in line with their business goals, the value drops significantly, to where the work would most likely need to be scrapped and started over again.

My business goals

We are a Social Business at Falcon; a rapidly-growing SaaS B2B business. So how do we calculate Social ROI?

First and foremost: Our main goal is to grow. That means that my team has two core focuses:

  1. Build our brand
  2. Fuel qualified leads into the sales funnel

What’s important to point out is that social does not necessarily need to carry a monetizing goal. For some businesses, the social goal could be cutting marketing spend, increasing business value, or community building.

Excel, a best friend for any marketing professional

As my coworker, May, says – as a marketer in 2014, Excel is your best friend.

Our Excel files would tell you my team’s goals in terms of engagement rates, number of visits to our website, number of page views, shares, and likes.



You may be – but it depends on your business goals.

I know that we are investing in relationships. We will establish them, nurture them, and convert them into long-term customers and advocates. These people will know and appreciate our values, support our philosophy and mission, and, most importantly to our business’ bottom line, buy our product.

No amount of external force can destroy a strong relationship if it is properly maintained and developed over time.

But in order to calculate my team’s Social ROI today (not yesterday, and not in 6 months) I am looking at the lower end of the funnel.

"However, as a Marketing Manager for a Social Business, I will always keep the top of the funnel in mind to ensure the relationships we nurture today will mean business tomorrow."

This is how I calculate our social ROI, and this is what I mean by resource marketing


*In order to know this, you need to track everything you do – and make sure that your tracking is across departments and tools.

Since we track everything we do, I can follow a deal closely back to a specific social update or a tweet.

Here comes the pitch

Calculate the resources you have that are going into social. We are building long-term relationships, not just short-term campaigns, and that requires resources.

Social is resource marketing

You need to take into consideration the total cost for salaries, software, paid advertising, tables and chairs – you name it. Look at this first, only then can you calculate your true social ROI.

These days, marketing – especially content marketing – has gone from your media agency sending you quarterly reports on your ad spend and/or brand equity, to companies developing an approach to “resource marketing” that is in line with their business goals. Meaning, the overall time and cost that is invested in building relationships, not that which is invested in big campaigns.

Does “resource marketing” exist as a term? I don’t know – but until then.

"I know that my resource marketing efforts pay off today - and build relationships for tomorrow."

As I pointed out, there is no single recipe for measuring social, but this is how we do it at Falcon, a social B2B business where growth is our goal.

I would love to hear how you tackle aligning your social goals with your enterprise goals, and how you calculate success.

Check out our panel discussion on Social ROI from SMWCPH here:

Understanding Social Media ROI

Effectively measure the ROI of your social media marketing so you can optimize it.


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