What is my return on investment with social media?

We all have high expectations when it comes to our return on investment – regardless if its marketing related or not. As a marketing agency though, we get this question with almost every new social media client “what is my return on investment with social media.” When you decide to take the plunge and invest in social media for your business, of course, you want to know that it is going to be worth the dollars you put forth. We get it. Even as the business owner for Elevate Marketing Co., I want to make sure that we are using our marketing dollars wisely.   

So, how do we answer this question? Giving a set ROI upfront can be difficult. We typically don’t give specifics during our first conversation with new (or potential) clients because we honestly don’t have enough information to provide numbers accurately. When it comes to investing in social media, there are a few things we coach our clients before we start talking numbers.  

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Setting Realistic Expectations.

It is essential for us to help our clients set realistic expectations. Keep in mind that social media advertising is not a quick fix for a rush of new business. While social media advertising, especially on Facebook/Instagram, can be incredibly cost-effective (compared to other forms of advertising), it still takes time. Many Facebook ad campaigns require a few weeks (and sometimes even months) of tweaking the ad structure, goal, audience targeting, budget, etc. It’s not just throwing an ad up on Facebook for $50 and watching the leads pour in. That, my friend, is a very unrealistic expectation. When we make tweaks to ad campaigns, it is important to note that we must allow those changes time. If we keep making tweaks, then we can see how the changes impact the campaign. Obviously, if we see negative results, then we will intervene, but for the most part, we must allow those changes to marinate.   

Good campaigns take time.  

One of the hardest situations we run into is when a company, who has very little social media following, wants to turn social media into a lead generator in quickly. It’s not like flipping a switch, and you instantly start generating leads. It takes time. But you might be thinking, so how long do I have to wait? There are far too many factors to say. While I’d love to say that it takes two weeks or less to get a strong campaign up and performing, it’s not the case. But what I can say, is that just like any other form of advertising, expect to see results in three months.  

THREE MONTHS!? Alright, alright, calm down. While it could be sooner, the reason I say three months is this. We want to allow the campaign to run, to monitor it, and to adjust it to find its sweet spot. We also want to avoid the situation where we run a campaign for $200, and 20 days later you call us to say you aren’t receiving the results you wanted.   

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment.

As a business owner, the word ‘experiment’ can seem unpredictable and even expensive. What it really means is that we need the flexibility to try new things and to tweak the campaign-within reason. For example, Facebook has several different ad structures based on goals. If you’ve been running an ad campaign that is just a photo and text, and it’s not performing well, then try running a carousel ad. Experimenting can also mean running an A/B test. Try running two similar ads but changing the photos – one should have a person’s face in it and the other should not. After monitoring for a couple of weeks, see which is performing better and run more of that style of ad. Have you tried running a Facebook lead ad? Yes, sometimes they cost more, but does it work better? There are several different ad structures, so test them out over a course of time, find what works, and run more of it. It is nearly impossible for someone to start running social media ads and get it spot on the first time.  

Setting realistic expectations is important. Setting a realistic budget is important. Allowing the campaign to run is also very important. If you foresee the need for leads and increased awareness in two, three, or four months – then start now. Start building up your following. Start determining your budget. Embed the Facebook Pixel on your website and start building your audiences. Start having conversations with your social media manager about what works and what doesn’t – that way in two, three or four months when the need is strong, you won’t be scrambling to start from scratch.   

So, what is your return on investment with social media? I can tell you this. Social media advertising can bring you leads, can build your following and can increase your brand awareness. Your return on investment is based on your budget, your goals, and the ability to be patient. Yes, you can get results with $50 and with $250. Yes, you can get results in 24-hours, and you can get even better results in 60 days. Your return on investment is what you put into it and knowing how to structure and set up the ads.  

Interested in what social media advertising can do for your company? Give us a call.