A January 2015 Social Media Examiner study revealed that small businesses may still be hesitant about using social media because of return on investment (ROI) issues. Of the small and medium businesses (SMBs) that were part of the study, only 40% reported having a way to measure social media activity ROI.

These findings were further confirmed by an April 2015 poll conducted by Manta. It discovered that nearly 60% of SMBs hadn’t yet had a return on their social media investment and, of those who had, most only saw a return of about $100 each month. For 13.5% of respondents, however, social media activities generated in excess of $1,000 each month, proving that there is money to be made through social media marketing.

In fact, Arby’s recently turned to Twitter to grow its email list and gained the following:

  • More than 400 generated leads
  • 31% higher email open rates for Twitter-generated leads
  • 45% higher CTR for Twitter-generated leads
  • 71% increase in sales
  • 15% ROI increase
  • 39% Facebook traffic increase.

The Manta polling discovered that a large part of the issue was that SMBs simply weren’t putting the necessary time into social media activities. This was backed up by a Clutch study that asked how much time SMBs put into social media now as compared to 2014. Respondents reported:

  • Increased time spent – 38%
  • Remained the same – 38%
  • Decreased time spent – 16%.

Of course, simply increasing the number of employee hours dedicated to social media activities isn’t always sufficient to increase ROI, according to the Clutch study. While only about 12% of their respondents said they’d increased their social media spending with outside agencies, that’s exactly what it may take to increase social media ROI.

Based on the findings from these studies and polls, the optimal way to increase your small business’s ROI from social media activities is to take a blended approach to social. While it’s natural to either want to keep social media activities 100% in-house or turn them over completely to an outside agency, this won’t usually provide the results you need. Instead, you may find more success by allowing the agency to handle strategy and implementation while one or two people from within your organization work closely with them to ensure clarity of message.


eMarketer. Small Businesses’ Social ROI Struggles Won’t Stop. June, 3, 2015.

Twitter Business. Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. N.D.