It’s 2019 and we all understand how various social media platforms work. However, do you know just how impactful it could be for your business?

Or do you think it’s a complete waste of time vying for attention online among the millions of pieces of content uploaded every day?

Well, if done right, with the right targeting and the right message, you could be earning ROI more so than traditional marketing avenues.

Piqued your interest? Read on because it’s time to give social media the attention it deserves.

How social media generates ROI

No doubt, social media has rightfully earned itself a name as an effective marketing channel. That said, understanding social media ROI is still a tad tricky and CEOs would question the dollar value of investing in social media.

To get started with how social media generates ROI, consider the following points:

  • What are your social media marketing goals: Increase followers, boost brand awareness, drive footfall to your business, sell more products or increase website traffic?
  • Who are you benchmarking against?
  • Which social media channels are currently creating the most buzz for your brand?


Once you’ve outlined the above, you’ll be better able to understand what metrics to track and it may not always be about chasing dollars and cents. For various brands, raising brand awareness, community building and customer service is a big part of why they’re on social media.

DBS Bank, for instance, shows there’s more to social than simply pushing their banking products.

Some metrics you could track include, sales generated from social ads, downloads, the overall share of voice, brand sentiment, and click-throughs. Once you have set goals and identified measurable metrics, you can then figure out a specific social media ROI formula.

Say if you want to measure social media ROI in terms of revenue earned. Then you would take revenue earned from social media divided by the total investment in social media (man-hours, ad budget etc). This is one example and there are multiple other ways to calculate your social media ROI.

Social media, the new customer service hotline

The emergence and rise of social media have provided a whole new avenue for consumers to interact with brands and voice out concerns, issues or simply to air any thought. For brands who’ve embraced social media as a customer service line, this meant reaching out to their consumers in a far more timely manner than the usual email or phone call.

Social media customer service is not limited to whenever a consumer drops you a direct message. Instead, social media marketers need to actively listen to conversations surrounding your brand and discover new points of contact to add value to a fan or existing customer.  

Some examples of great social media customer service are from the fast food chain KFC.

From 2016 to 2017, a fan persistently requested the chain to bring back the famous Hot Devil Drumlets. To the customer’s surprise, KFC was listening and soon delivered his request.

To follow in KFC’s footsteps and interact with followers, the conversation view in Meltwater Engage is one way to easily identify new social conversations across networks. KFC managed to use such interactions to their advantage and took their customer service to another level.

Singaporean telco, StarHub on the other hand actively engages with their users even when no question is asked or help is sought. They engage with users simply to create connections.

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On top of engaging with your followers, stay on top of social conversations with Meltwater’s Social Listening tool. You can monitor everything relevant to your brand, competitors, and industry. The icing on the cake is that this can be all done on the same platform.

A dashboard of media monitoring widgets on Meltwater’s Social Media Monitoring tool showcasing Circles.Life data in April 2019.

Take for instance, another Singaporean telco, Circles.Life. In the dashboard taken from the Meltwater Social Listening tool, we see that a majority of brand mentions occur on Facebook and Twitter. In this case, it would be wise for Circles.Life to establish a good presence on those networks and engage with users there.

Additionally, in terms of trending topics, we can also see that some consumers are speaking of Zero Mobile, a competitor, in the same conversation as Circles.Life. This is something for the telco to take note of and evaluate how they can redirect conversations away from the competitor. With such insights available at their fingertips, Circles.Life would be better able to drive the right conversations and quickly interact with users when the need arises.

Remember, with social media, you don’t always have to push your product or business. It’s not just about the sale. Use the platform to build trust and relationships with your potential customers. They could very well become advocates of your brand at a later stage.

Advertise on social media for greater, targeted reach

With the changing algorithms, reaching out to your social media followers organically is getting more difficult.

Social media advertising should now be considered an essential part of your social media marketing strategy. However, do not go into it blindly hoping to reach everyone and anyone. Start by understanding your audience well and knowing which channel they’re most active on. This would help ensure you get the most bang out of your buck on social media advertising.

On Instagram, brands have various means of interacting with their audience. One of the latest features available is the use of polling stickers within Instagram stories ads. Such interactive elements help to increase the time spent on video and allow you to drive further engagement.

As one of Instagram’s early advertisers for this feature, Dunkin’ achieved a 20% lower cost-per-video-view using the polling stickers as people were also likely to watch for longer rather than skipping to the next story. This goes to show how the right content with some interactive elements could boost the impact of your campaign.

Can you boycott social media completely?

Popular beauty brand, Lush has taken the path less travelled and decided to quit its social media accounts in the UK altogether. In doing so, they’re hoping to engage with its customers on the website, email, phone and in person.

Essentially, it appears their marketing goals have shifted to brand awareness and in their case, the best way to boost awareness is through influencers – rather than chasing after feed rankings.

Time will tell if this is a brilliant move but for now, it sure seems to be a smart one.

Ultimately, as with any other marketing channel, social media is a constantly evolving one. However, what remains constant is the need to listen, interact with your audience and create highly engaging content to capture attention in an increasingly crowded digital space.