Social Media ROI: A Simple Hello Can Lead To A Million Things

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social media roi stories

Everyone wants to prove social media ROI.

It’s all, “show me the money!”

However, social media ROI isn’t always that simple to track.

While it can be, there’s usually a not-so-direct way social media magic happens.

Here are a few very true, very BIG wins I’ve gotten from my social media investments.


Social Media ROI

First things first, ROI is a financial term meaning “return on investment.”

When you’re talking about ROI, you are referring to direct sales or dollars that came from your investment in social media (time, money, or resources).

The formula for ROI is: ROI = Net Profit / Total Investment * 100.

For example, if I spent $1000 dollars on time, resources, or money for social efforts and ended up making $2500, my ROI would be 150%.

150% = 1500 / 1000 * 100

But again, measuring direct ROI can be difficult.

If you’re here for specific tips on measuring social media ROI, try this excellent guide from our pals at Sprout Social.

41% of companies said they had no idea whether or not their social media efforts were actually paying off.Click To Tweet

A Simple Hello …

I’ll start my social media ROI storytelling with Mr. Mark Schaefer.


Many marketers and businesses alike know Mark for his famous {grow} blog.

He’s written several books, is a consultant to many enterprise brands, is a keynote speaker at some of the world’s largest marketing events, and also runs a well-known podcast called The Marketing Companion.

I heard Mark speak back in 2013 during an online session of Social Media Marketing World.

Since his class was decidedly different from everyone else’s, I knew I had to connect with him.

I went out and followed him on Twitter, and friended him on both Facebook and LinkedIn with a note promising that I wasn’t a stalker, I was just immensely impressed with his talk.

Lucky for me, Mark is as nice as he is off-screen as he is on screen.

He accepted my requests and we formed a small online friendship.

But it wasn’t until a year later that things really started taking off.

When it comes to social media ROI, a simple hello can lead to a million things!Click To Tweet

… Can Lead To A Million Things

Nearly a year later, Mark and I met up in NYC, where I still lived at the time.

During this meeting, he asked me to write a post for {grow}. And from the success of that post, he asked me to write monthly for {grow} as a contributor.

From there, Mark asked me to work a project with him for his KNOWN book.

Shortly after, Mark referred me businesses who were looking to outsource their social media management.

Fast forward to today …

Seven of my current clients can be directly or indirectly attributed to connecting with Mark. And that doesn’t even include past projects!

Mark invited me to speak on his panel Social Media Marketing World this year, bringing our relationship to a glorious full circle.


The amount of exposure and PR I’ve gotten from being a “speaker” at SMMW has been incredible. Again, all based on my connection with Mark.

Trust me, my social media ROI is 1000 fold. And all for what?

A small investment for a virtual pass to SMMW, and the time it took me to reach out, ask Mark for a connection and say hello.

Social selling does work, as long as you're not trying too hard.Click To Tweet

A Growing Network

I suppose Mark would be “patient zero” because my network was infected by his presence — but in a good way.

Michael Brenner from Marketing Insider Group found me via one of the posts I wrote for {grow} and asked to meet up.

That meeting resulted in the two of us working together on various projects, and the addition of several new clients who Michael referred to B Squared Media for social media management.


More recently, Mark introduced me to another female entrepreneur who leads an all-female team on social media strategies for enterprise-sized clients.

Megan Conley, Founder of Social-Tribe and I met up for lunch, discovered that we’re on extremely similar paths, and quickly started dolling out advice to one another.

While this may not turn into direct business dollars (though Megan has already sent me one lead!), the bond we share as female business owners is strong.

In just a few short weeks, she’s already given me priceless advice on running my business.

Remember, social media ROI isn't always direct but can still lead to BIG WINS.Click To Tweet

Agency Work

My social networking and recent Agency Partner Program with Sprout Social has also led to some big wins with other agencies.

At the end of last year, Sprout brought me my first-ever lead from their Partner Program.

In our short time working with this client, we’ve exceeded their new subscriber goal three times over! Sprout knew the match would be perfect (and it was).

We also closed two white-labeled agencies in 2017 that will be selling our done-for-you social media management services under their brand.

White-labeling our services under other agencies that provide similar, but non-competitive, services has been a huge win for us.

From a sales perspective, these are big deals for me because I know I’m not just closing one lead but the possibility of many.

As we fine-tune our process for white-labeling our services, I’m starting to think of all of the other agencies I need to be connected with, and speaking with, online.

Whereas before, I might have seen other agencies as competition, I now have an abundance mentality.

A shift needs to happen with our online efforts to accommodate ALL possibilities for ROI; direct isn't the only answer!Click To Tweet

Your Network Is Your Net Worth

While direct social media ROI is super important to measure, we can’t forget that not all ROI is going to be as easy as following a click down the path to purchase.

I’d also beg you to remember that social media is social — and if you treat it with a “think conversation” attitude, a lot can happen.

Tracking this kind of “social networking” or “social selling” or whatever you want to call it isn’t as direct but is still traceable.

At the end of the day, social media ROI lives within your network. And how you leverage that network is totally up to you.

Have you had any HUGE social media ROI wins with an indirect approach? I’d love to hear about it! Tell me your story in the comments section below!


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Brooke B. Sellas is an award-winning Customer Marketing Strategist and the CEO & Founder of B Squared Media. Her book, Conversations That Connect has been recognized nationally and is required reading for a Customer Experience class at NSU. Brooke's influence in digital marketing is not just about her accomplishments but also about her unwavering commitment to elevating the industry standard of digital customer experience and customer marketing.
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