It can be tough to see the immediate value of social media mentions, but the notion that tweets and other social media posts lack real-world value is wrong.
For Bos Ice Tea, a tweet is worth at least the cost of a free drink. In a campaign, thirsty smartphone users standing near a Bos vending machine could tweet a specific hashtag for a free tea.
Meanwhile, in 2010, Toyota rewarded customers who tweeted about their recent purchases with a $500 debit card.
These campaigns bought Twitter visibility with the cost of the reward. Visibility has real-world value. Some social media studies go much further, assigning dollars-and-cents values to social media mentions.
[FREE DOWNLOAD: How to manage online feedback and brand reputation]
So, how much is a tweet worth? Take a look at these theories:
A 2011 study by Chompon calculated the value of a tweet at $5 and the value of a follower at $2. Chompon notes that it believes the true value of a follower is higher because it could not account for long-term value in the study.
Additionally, it calculates a Facebook share to be worth $14 and a like to be worth $8.
Last April, Rob May, co-founder of Backupify, did some calculations to determine the value of a number of social networks. According to his calculations, Twitter had the least value.
To generate $10, May concluded a company would have to tweet 8,896 times. A Yelp review brought in the biggest bang for the buck at $9.13 per review.
3. It varies
According to Direct Marketing News, the real value of a tweet or post comes down to its content, creativity, timing and shareability.
For example, a tweet tied to an event, say, a picture of a celebrity’s dress at the Oscars, can be worth hundreds of dollars. The same tweet a month later will likely be worth much less.
Marketers should avoid going for the home run and pushing conversion too often, though. Followers grow weary of constant sales tactics, making it necessary to mix high-value conversion tweets with informational and engaging tweets that users love.
How much is a tweet worth?
Whether Twitter or any social network delivers a significant return on investment depends on how your business uses the platform.
A version of this article originally appeared on the Vocus blog.