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Social media spend continues to grow at an increasing rate. According to Ad Age, it’s expected to make up more than 20% of all marketing budgets by 2020. Despite these figures, businesses still encounter challenges demonstrating that their social spend has a meaningful impact on their business goals or revenue.

This difficulty was on full display in the Harvard Business Review’s article, “What’s the value of a Like?” The article stated that while 80% of Fortune 500 companies have active Facebook pages, only 20% of them were able to qualitatively prove social media’s impact.

You know that you need to prove ROI. But the practical questions are tough to answer. What are the right social metrics to track? Which business outcomes is social best at solving?

It’s a myth that you can’t prove social media’s impact on revenue. Hootsuite, a social media management platform with 16 million users, including 800 of the Fortune 1000, recently published a guide to help organizations refine their approach to ROI measurement. Read the whole report here: https://hootsuite.com/pages/prove-social-roi

In addition to strict ROI calculations (which would divide revenue by cost), organizations are beginning to embrace the idea that social media is a driver of customer insight, and social media data is a way to extract that insight and make it actionable in multiple areas of the business.

One reason social media is increasing its place on the path to a purchase is because the people on your social media feed are just like you. A 2017 study from Edelman endeavored to measure if a spokesperson was seen as trustworthy, and if so, were they more or less trustworthy than others.

The “Trust Barometer” showed that survey respondents trusted their peers just as much, if not more than experts in a given field. Academic and technical experts both were found as credible sources by 60% of people in the survey. Also trading at 60%? “A person like you,” which far outstripped CEOs (37%) or government officials (29%).