ROI: Are We There Yet?


The “are we there yet,” factor of marketing is common and is usually coupled with impatience. That’s what it feels like sometimes as a company pouring your hard earned money into social marketing and not seeing the return on investment... yet.

"The truth is that when it comes to Social ROI, most companies aren’t there yet – they’re still in the investment stage not the return part of the equation." 

So how can you know whether or not you’re on track to being at the "there or return" stage and past the "yet or investment" stage?

Here's how:

4 Stages of Social Marketing

"It starts with realizing there are different stages of social media marketing. And where you are on the journey to positive ROI depends on what stage you’re at."

"With that in mind, you’ll notice that each stage “maxes out” at different levels of value. And that most B2B companies we come across are still in the Activity and Audience stages."

Here are the four stages in detail:

Stage 1: Activity

Do you remember what it was like the first time you joined the gym? You promised to come in every week and focus on a new area. Endurance, Cardio, Strength and so on. The first stage of social marketing is like that. Just like when you first started at the gym, "what’s important at this stage is your activity: the number of blog posts per month, tweets per day and status updates per week that you and your team can do. Measure your progress in this stage by how consistently you’re able to maintain (and increase) your target activity levels."


Stage 2: Audience Building

At this stage, you should be getting pretty consistent with blogging, posting and social sharing. "This is the time to focus on building high-quality prospects, customers, influencers and —yes — employees. To gauge progress, you want to track the number of new blog subscribers, followers, and fans, but also keep an eye on the quality of your new audience members."

This is where you you should be turning up the relationship building by liking, commenting and sharing other people's content. Slowly building a connection to a valuable audience. "And just remember, a higher quality social audience means more results in the next stage…"


 Stage 3: Engagement

"Since you have consistent social activity and a growing, quality social audience, you now get to reap some rewards! People are starting to share your blog posts, retweet and mention your company handle, and “like” your LinkedIn company page updates."

All that love you were showing your audience is now coming back your way. 

"So that’s what you want to measure when it comes to this stage: which kinds of content and interactions are best for mobilizing your audience. The key is to share compelling and relevant content (branded and curated), and engage in social conversations with prospects, customers, and industry influencers." 


Stage 4: ROI

"At this stage you’re starting to generate ROI from your social media efforts. Why? Because your ongoing social media activity and engaged audience are driving meaningful action, including conversions: website traffic, landing page clicks, and … yes, leads! For this stage, those are the metrics you want to track and measure. It’s also now easier to get more resources to help turn the social media wheel faster because everyone on the team is seeing the progress!"

This is not the stage to kick your feet up and rest. 


Keep in Mind A Few Things

You got to where you are or will get to where you should be because you kept up with all four stages. These stages should now become guidelines. Don't stop the consistency, interacting & building relationships and don't take it for granted.

"In addition, how long should you expect to be focused on a particular stage? It depends on the resources you commit and how quickly you can ramp up your social media activity. With that said, we’ve found that a good benchmark is one to two quarters per stage."

Just be careful to align your specific goals to the social media stage you’re in — each platform has its strengths, don't confuse them to be all alike.

"Now it’s your turn!  Which stage is your company at… on the journey to positive Social ROI? And what tips do you have for getting to positive social ROI faster?"