Return on Influence

by Blake Jackson | @Blakestweet

Chances are if you have been around any kind of business or have watched ABC’s Shark Tank for five minutes, then you have heard the acronym ROI or Return on Investment. This might be one of the most important metrics companies look at for success. As we move farther and farther into the digital age, social media has become an increasingly popular, and smart, way to market your company or product. This has brought to life a new meaning to the acronym ROI: Return on Influence.

Return on Influence not only measures how many people were reached by your posts, but also how their behavior was affected by this post. Measuring your online influence can be extremely difficult and not completely quantifiable. Unlike Return on Investment, which is a quantitative measurement, Return on Influence is a qualitative measurement. What a lot of marketers are looking for are the measured caused effect and outcomes of posts. It can measure Facebook fans, Instagram followers, or even website traffic.

Let’s say that you just started a new Facebook page for your company. You gained 4,000 new followers because of a $1,000 Facebook ad campaign you were running. Financially speaking, it appears that your investment in that ad campaign was a successful one. Let’s look at the ad campaign through Return of Influence now. How many of those followers did what you asked them to do? Whether it was share your page, enter a contest, comment on a status. If that number is only 500 people, then you could assume that your engagement is pretty low. Your ultimate goal of reaching more people and affecting their behavior could be improved.

Herein lies the difference between Return on Investment and Return on Influence. What looks like a smart financial investment may not have been as good as previously thought. Return on Influence will continue to evolve into a better marketing tool. As companies learn how to use it effectively, they will be able to spend their marketing money towards more influential posts and blogs.