Everyone is eager to attach a $ to social media. I find that the ROI question often comes from someone that isn’t sold on the idea of social media and its place in business. They’re usually looking for a reason to believe. You can tell them all the feel good social media stories that you want but they want some hard numbers. Ironically these are often the same people that will blindly throw money at other ideas or mediums that cannot be tracked. So what is the ROI on social media?
Without going into a long, drawn out ramble… here are my thoughts.
I don’t see social media as a marketing tool. It’s a communication tool. It’s a way to monitor consumer sentiment. It’s a way to gain competitive intelligence.
What’s the ROI of your phone? Do you ever stop and try to calculate the ROI of meeting a new contact at a conference? Is there a ROI calculation for helping a customer that comes into your store?
Social media allows you to connect with people on a whole new level. It’s a way to show that your business actually gives a damn about the people that support you. Sure… there might be ways to wedge a sale or two into your social media campaign but it’s not really about that. It’s about so much more.
I used to work in retail before this whole Facebook/Twitter/YouTube thing took off. I always used to wonder what people were saying as they walked out of our shop. Did they have a good experience? Did we do something wrong? Why didn’t they buy something? Were they going to a competitor? Was the competitor having a sale? I would have killed for some answers. We could have taken the data and made our store better.
Fast forward to today. Conversations are happening online 24/7 on sites like Facebook. Companies can monitor and even jump into these conversations if they see it appropriate. Information is free, unbiased and instant. Companies can start their own profiles and offer exclusive discounts to those that follow them. You can’t choose to have your company included or excluded in these conversations. They happen regardless.
The choice is pretty simple. You can sit back and ignore the online world or you can roll up your sleeves and get dirty.
What would you do if you overheard a group of people outside your shop asking questions about your business? I’m hoping that you’d go and help them out. Conversations in the online world are no different… except those ones are available to the world to see and they never go away.
Is it worth it to get involved? Is it money and time well spent? That’s for you to decide….
I like the way you think Gary. I completely agree.