Social Media: Episode VI – Return of the Investment

“Obi-Wan has taught you well”

Hello! Welcome back, or welcome if you’re new. Today we’ll be talking the big bucks; the return on [your] investment (ROI). This is where you see the benefit from all your hard work! The content we’ll look at for this post is Carlos Gil’s Social Media Marketing: ROI. This will be a long one so strap in and let’s jump on into it!

The Social Media Strategy:
Remember: Your business objectives! As said in a previous blog post, your business objectives are what you should base all your decisions on! Join a social media platform that gets your company closer to achieving its objectives.  

Pro Tips for choosing a platform:

  • Where are your customers? Don’t waste time on the wrong platform!
  • What’s your competitor doing? Survey the landscape. If everyone’s on a specific platform, it might be smart to check it out!
  • Why be on social media? Again, to fulfil objectives! If your business objective is prompt customer service, Twitter would be worthwhile.
  • What are your marketing objectives? We’ve talked about your business objectives but consider your marketing objectives as well. Do you want to drive sales, raise awareness, increase word-of-mouth advertising?
    (Gil, 2019)
Each leg has a purpose!

Gil’s Four Pillar Strategy (four C’s)
Much like a chair has four legs to hold it up, Gil’s four pillar strategy holds your social media presence up! This means each “leg” is important and need to be planned for.

It consists of four sections (obviously):

  1. Content. The “meat and potatoes” of social media. This is what people see what they go to your page.
  2. Community. The folks who regularly support and engage with your stuff. It takes time to build this group up, but once you have it, they’ll be your #1s. 
  3. Consistency. How often will consumers be exposed to your posts (to your brand?)
  4. Conversion. Are people taking action from your posts? This means comments, retweets, shares, saves, purchases, etc.
    (Gil, 2019)

After reading that you might be thinking “how will I track the effectiveness of my efforts”? If yes, check out my blog [HERE] that covers metrics and tracking social media!

Pro Tip: Sites for Tracking ROI
Finding the right site might seem daunting at first! Personally, when I don’t know where to start, it’s easy to just think “its not worth it”. But tracking ROI is super important for marketers! As mentioned above, it’s what tells you if you’re doing well or not.

Shown on the graphic are four “basic” sites recommended by Gil for company’s just starting out with tracking ROI.

Some sites like “TubeBuddy” are specifically for tracking YouTube analytics (Gil, 2019). Depending on your content, you may want to look for specialized tracking tools.

If these sites are overwhelming, don’t worry! Practically every social media platform has in-app analytics you can look at.
Also, if you want to see a blog post about other social media sites, tell me in the comments below! 

Remember: Even if you use these sites, don’t get lazy! It’s important to stay up to date on what the data insights tell you! If you don’t, you have access to the information, but you won’t know how to use it to make improvements! Gil recommends exporting the metrics data into a spreadsheet (Excel or otherwise) to make reading/sharing this data easier (Gil, 2019)!

Social Media Pro Tip: Revive the dead! Revive your (best-performing) old posts by reengaging by liking/commenting responses to the post. This will get your content back in the viewers feed! (Gil, 2019). Plus, engagement with the consumers always looks good!

The Gamble

ROI is the return on your investment.

This means, investing a lot could lead to very high return if done right! But don’t forget, sometimes gambles result in loss

E-commerce Integration *this information was correct as of March 2020*

ROI doesn’t need to just be clicks or retweets; it can be sales! To increase your chances of a sale, consider adding an e-commerce aspect to your social media.

Instagram currently offers in-post “shop now” tags. Viewers can click on a post and be instantly linked to the product in your online shop. YouTube offers a similar feature with a merch carousel underneath the video but before the comments section. This showcases your products without the viewer needing to go to your merchandise shop. Lastly, Facebook offers a whole page for you to create a digital shop! This is great if you want to promote a lot within Facebook (ex. groups).

Instagram’s “view product” shop now tag

Remember: Likes aren’t everything! Metrics like likes and follows don’t show the whole picture of engagement (Gil, 2019). This is especially because they can be bought! Key analytics to look out for are shares, saves/bookmarks, and comments (Gil, 2019). This shows active engagement versus mindless scrolling. Shares are specifically great because they extend your reach organically (Gil, 2019). Check out my blog post HERE with tips for social media engagement.

Pro Tip for Professionals: Don’t forget LinkedIn! Check out my whole blog series [HERE] dedicated to LinkedIn and how to make it your best professional social media account.

YouTube-Specific Tips
YouTube is a “special” social media because all the content you’d produce is video! This means views matter. Unfortunately, YouTube is always changing what the favours. (The algorithm is the thing YouTube uses to promote videos within their app). Early-on, YouTube favoured  high reach which resulted in a lot of short-form (>10 mins) content seeing mass success. Then, the algorithm changed to favour content that kept users on the site. This means long-form (10mins+) content was favoured. Recently, YouTube has been not promoting “child-oriented” content due to accusations some content was predatory (ex. advertising disguised as content). This means content deemed kid-friendly would not show up in the “recommended videos” tab. Additionally, content that was deemed “advertiser-unfriendly” (ex. swearing, firearms, etc.) wouldn’t be promoted either.

Steph’s YouTube Pro Tip: When uploading to YouTube, be sure to understand the current rules and trends surrounding what the algorithm favours. Check popular creators’ videos and  social medias to see what they’re saying about the platform; they’re usually the most vocal about any changes! This also goes for video monetization!

Keywords are the Key
Keywords are integral to being found on any social media. For YouTube, you should optimize the title and tags to include hot keywords related to your content and business. This is the same for Facebook. Twitter and Instagram use hashtags as keywords. Using the right ones are important for you to be found through a keyword search!

 Social Media Pro Tips:

Tags you can add to your Instagram Stories
  • (Twitter) Twitter Cards. These are ways to attach picture/videos/other media to your tweet and drive traffic to your site. Remember: use eye-catching visuals and a clear call to action to really drive traffic.
  • (Instagram) Instagram Stories. These are great ways to reach consumers with temporary content. You can tell stories in a multi-post, get engagement through stickers (ex. quizzes, interest sliders, feedback boxes, etc. [see image]), or just draw attention to a new product!
  • (YouTube). Links and End cards. Attach links within your YouTube video. This makes it so people watching your video have instant access to your site!
  • (Most social media) Engaging Captions. Don’t put boring captions people can easily scroll past. Ask a question or issue a challenge (ex. “can you spell [your latest product] in the comments letter by letter without any interruptions?”). Make viewers want to engage with your brand!  
  • (Most social media) Use! It allows you to shorten long links to your site to something small and digestible for posting. Also, it lets you see your click-through rate metrics!
    (Gil, 2019)

The Takeaway (Conclusion)
As important as social media is, without understanding your ROI, you’ve got nothing to show for it. As mentioned, multiple times, companies run on money and your ROI data proves your social media presence relates to the income stream. Personally, my favourite thing Gil said was the four pillars. For me, making the chair connection in my head made it all come together. All the factors are of-equal importance and they all do an important job! If one is weakened or missing, the whole chair will fall over and fail!

What all the businesses will hopefully be saying

A real world way to think about it is school! I’m currently a marketing student but plan to be a professional marketer soon. My investment is all the time and money I’ve spent to learn from my classes. My ROI payoff will be when I graduate and can use all my skills and education to land a great job!


Gil, C. (2019, October 9). Social Media Marketing: ROI. Retrieved from LinkedIn:

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