At the risk of being a bit contentious, isn’t all this talk about getting ROI from social media a bit waffly? I don?t think it?s that difficult.

Social media is like any other media ? it presents an opportunity for people and businesses to communicate a message to an audience. Just like any other media, its ability to yield a return on investment will depend on how well it is used to carry relevant, compelling messages to the relevant audience, in such a way that it will inspire them to engage and do business.

Can social media yield a return on investment? Absolutely. Can that be measured? Yes (although not necessarily very easily). Will social media yield a return on investment every time? No. Is it possible to invest a lot of time, effort and resources into social media – even gaining a lot of interest and influence – and never achieve a penny of ROI? Definitely.

In simple terms, social media can be dangerous. It is ostensibly very cheap and easy to access, so it is tempting simply to ‘give it a go’ and see what happens – something we were guilty of ourselves not too long ago. But social media is complex, distracting and, for some at least, addictive. And importantly, whatever you might think, it is not free. Promoting oneself or one’s business through social media (just like via any other channel) will demand resources and effort. Those resources are far more likely to yield a return on investment in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing. So if you’re thinking of ‘investing’ in social media, I’d urge you to talk to someone who not only understands Twitter, but who also understands marketing. I know one or two if you need pointing in the right direction.

(Opinion: Jim Green – MD)

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