Now that the top UK brands are acknowledging the importance and power of social media, the emphasis of their involvement is beginning to change. Initially, those that first immersed their brand on the social networking platforms did so because they had the vision to appreciate it was where their customers were communicating with each other. They appreciated the benefits that Facebook and Twitter and YouTube could offer and rather than evaluate the tangible cash return they’d witness, they instead understood that deep involvement would reap rewards that traditional forms of marketing and advertising could not claim.

However, with the mass entrance of brands of all shapes and sizes, the concept of vision and genuine belief in the sites has been replaced by the ancient business ethos of ‘what will I get back from the money I’ve put in?’ Understandable from a business mindset but consequently, social media is changing. The most frequent topic of articles on social media in recent months has been on ROI, as companies are frantically trying to understand why they’re investing in social media, why they’re competitors are throwing large budgets at it and other than a Facebook page with 10,000 likes, what they’re actually getting back from it.

What has been difficult for most brands is that they cannot find a tangible ROI for social media. But it can be argued that traditional advertising, ie a TV advert, a page in the newspaper or magazine or a billboard ad are harder to determine the ROI. Social media can be tracked; the traffic referred to the brand’s website, better search ranking, levels of feedback on various campaigns, assessing customer’s thoughts on changes to the brand or suggestions for the future. How else could these factors be assessed or even posed to their customers before the arrival of social media? If you want ROI, don’t enter social media to sell a product or service, treat it as the most effective, beneficial and unique opportunity to achieve results nothing else can currently offer.