Updated February 1, 2017. Social media is difficult for engaging return on investment (ROI), but it’s not impossible. Sometimes, you can gauge a hard dollars-and-sense value from your efforts, but it’s not always possible and it may not always be necessary. So what are some other ways you can judge whether you are getting a positive ROI from your social media campaigns?

Here are 5 ways other than sheer money to judge whether your social media marketing is yielding a positive ROI.

  1. Mailing List Opt-in Rate – If you conduct a social media campaign and see a rise in the number of opt-ins to your mailing list, that’s a sure sign that you may be seeing a positive ROI. That could lead to an increase in revenues down the road, especially if your e-mail marketing is as effective as your social media marketing. However, just because you are seeing more opt-ins doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting a positive ROI. You need to think about the value, in terms of dollars, each of those subscribers represent. If you spend $500 on the marketing campaign and see only 50 new subscribers that represent $5 potential purchasing power each, that’s only a $250 return. On the other hand, 200 new subscribers if a payload. Also, keep in mind that we’re talking about responsive subscribers, not people who opt-in and just let the e-mails sit in their inboxes.
  2. Increased blog engagement – If you drive traffic to your blog and website and you see increased engagement, then that’s a sign that your social media marketing is working. Opt-ins is better, but engagement does mean that you have struck a nerve.
  3. More traffic – Be sure to check your referral sources to verify that your traffic isn’t coming from other sources, but if you manage a Facebook campaign and you see a huge spike in visitors from Facebook immediately following, there’s your ROI. Again, no what each visitor is worth to your bottom line, and do the math.
  4. Citations – Sometimes, ROI is indirect. If you see an increase in inbound links and third-party citations, that means people have noticed what you’re doing and are talking about you. That increase in word-of-mouth could lead to more opt-ins, engagement, and monetary ROI. It may mean a little bit down the road, but keep monitoring.
  5. Walk-ins – If you run a bricks-and-mortar store and you see a spike in foot traffic immediately following your social media campaign, there’s a return on your investment. It’s up to you to turn that increased foot traffic into sales.