co Is There Truly No ROI From Social Media? |

A survey of small business owners (SMBs) indicates that 61% of them show no return on investment (ROI) with social media. However, they’re still willing to spend money on social media. The interesting thing is, all of the businesses surveyed are also members of Manta. I can’t help but wonder what the response would be of non-Manta members.

Asides aside, though, there are some other interesting insights to be gleaned  from the survey. For instance, 68% of the business owners surveyed have either increased the amount of time spent on social media or not changed it at all. Why?

If they’re not seeing a return on investment, then why are they still pursuing that strategy? More importantly, why are the 34.1% increasing the time they spend on social media?

It could be that a large part of that 34.1% of SMBs that increased their time on social media are also a part of that 39% that is seeing an ROI. The survey doesn’t really tell us. I’m more concerned with whether or not there is an ROI from their social media efforts or whether or not that 61% of SMBs simply don’t know how to measure ROI. The survey results don’t give us any indication.

The Rise of Google+

Another interesting thing to come of out of this survey is the second place positioning of Google+ as the social media platform that delivers the most ROI. Ahead of Linkedin? My guess is that many of the businesses surveyed are business-to-consumer businesses, not business-to-business businesses.

Google+ is typically not mentioned as the favorite ROI destination among small business owners. That’s why I find this interesting. If those small businesses are technology businesses, then it makes more sense, but I can’t help but wonder a couple of things:

  1. How are these companies attempting to measure ROI?
  2. How are they comparing the social media platforms?
  3. How do you reconcile the 61% figure that says there is no ROI with the 53% figure that says the most ROI comes from Facebook?

I may need help interpreting this data. Like Greg Sterling, I have too many questions.

There is one thing that I do know: Social media ROI can be measured. It’s not always a clean measurement. It depends on your goals. But if your goal is to increase your lead generation efforts or convert more customers, then those numbers are measurable. You may have to do some fancy marketing and metric tracking to nail down your ROI from social media, but it is doable.