7 essentials for gauging the real value of PR and social media

Some ROI aspects are as nebulous as those of a golf club membership or a suite at a sports stadium. Others have real metrics that you can show the top-tier execs. Here’s how.

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Despite what we’ve said elsewhere about the difficulty of determining ROI for PR and social media, gauging the value of what you do is eminently doable and highly recommended. You just have to do it right.

Follow these seven steps, and your calculations will resonate with your top executives:

1. Count all costs.

Calculate ROI as an accountant or CFO would: Use “all in” costs. Take into account all costs, not just your paid ad spending or what your agency billed you. Factor in internal time and resources, as well as any miscellaneous expenses and, of course, salaries. It’s better to be accurate and transparent than appear to be fudging your numbers.

2. Be conservative with your counting.

Always err on the downside. You don’t want to appear to be massaging numbers to make them look good, so take the low end of any estimate on the “results.” Be conservative; let senior leaders do the inflating if they want to.

3. Explain everything.

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