Christine Saunders is the director of community for Venpop. She designs social media strategies for Venpop customers. She also works closely with brands to help them successfully execute and leverage their social media networks. She manages all things Venpop, including Venpop’s social media and blogging networks.

The ability to measure return on investment from social media is one that continues to be a problem for marketers and brands. The relationship between social media and ROI is not a direct one. Because of this, social media has come under a lot of criticism for not contributing to ROI in any real way. Still, there is no denying that social networks can drive traffic back to your brand website, and in any kind of terms increased website traffic affects the bottom line.

Making social media work for you is a balancing act. It consists of using smart social media tools that can save time, money and manpower, while remaining engaging and being of interest to your fans and followers.

So the question remains — how do you go about getting a piece of the social media pie and driving traffic back to your website? By combining the five points below, in a little less than a year, Venpop was able to help a client, New York fashion designer Amanda Pearl, get 20% of her overall traffic from social media.

  1. Say hello. On Facebook, Pearl greets her nonfans with a welcome page, which includes a bit about her brand and a link back to her website. Let people know who you are, and don’t force them to become fans; just say hello and let them naturally check out who you are.
  2. Provide rewards. Who doesn’t like to feel special? Periodically throughout the year, Pearl offers her fans a thank you, which consists of a sitewide discount or specific item at a discounted price. Authentically thank your fans, you’ll get more fans and they will share your offers.
  3. Talk about your products. Pearl regularly posts her new products and discounted items and links them back to her website. Studies show that people connect with brands to learn about products and deals. Use an automated tool for posting products; save your time for crafting original content and engaging fans. Make it easy for your fans and followers to regularly check out what is new — because they will.
  4. Reach out. You can’t wait for people to find you — actively look for people to talk to. This is easier to do on Twitter. Pearl makes a point of actively adding and reaching out to new followers on her Twitter account. Get your content, products, ideas and links to your website into the News Feeds of fans and followers when possible. Timeline for brands will make this even more relevant.
  5. Good content. Probably the most obvious and the most overlooked. Creating good content involves listening. Figure out what your fans and followers want to talk about and craft a social media calendar around that. Start engaging. Be a valuable resource and fans and followers will intrinsically click back to your website.

While driving social media traffic back to your website is just one of the ways that social media can affect your brand, it is a measurable reason why brands can no longer overlook social media.

Social media is an investment in time. Listen to what your fans and followers are saying, use the tools that can help leverage your time, and make the first move — because at the end of the day, social media done right does affect the bottom line. And this isn’t going to change any time soon.

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5 responses to “5 ways you can increase ROI through social media”

  1. Sherry Hill says:

    This confirms what I have been learning from other sources. This is simple, straight forward advice.

  2. Pranaya says:

    Hi Christine,

    Instead of waiting for visitors to come to your site, proactively reaching out to them wherever they are certainly seems to be the right approach. Great article.

  3. I would have liked to see some actual ROI here. You show that she gets 20% of her traffic but if none of that converts to paying clients then you end up with a negative ROI. This article should have been titled "How to Get Traffic to Your Website With Social Media".

    I agree that it's a good success story of traffic generating, it's just not an example of ROI.

  4. Don says:

    @ Sherry, Most marketing works best with the K.I.S.S. principle, keep is simple for the consumer.

  5. I’ve been busting my behind to break 100 fans on one of my new fan pages and not having much look. I think I am going to take some time to educate myself on effective FB marketing I think I’ll try the social networking academy.Nora Janine recently posted..An Alternative to the Web2Carz Affiliate Program