The issue of social media ROI has plagued companies and marketers for years. How can you tell if your efforts and dollars and paying off? While there are plenty of numbers we can track, the answer is still elusive, but I’d like to argue that it’s also moot. Social media is not a tool for measurement, it’s a tool for communication. When was the last time the CEO asked what the ROI is on telephones? Or email? If you are old enough, you remember when email was brand new. It was this thing we had to do on top of our full work day. Then slowly over time, it became the CENTER of our work.
Social media, like email and the telephone, is a form of communication. Your friends, family, customers, competitors and prospects are all there. So the question should not be what is the ROI of social media, but am I doing it right?
Here are some questions senior management should be asking:
- Do I have more visibility with the use of social media than without? #hellohashtag!
- Am I establishing thought leadership in my industry?
- Am I meeting people and making new connections that would have otherwise been impossible?
- Is my website traffic growing?
- Are my team members supporting each other and the corporate goals?
It’s common knowledge that sales isn’t guaranteed with the investment of phones, email and a sales force. Of course, those tools need to be used properly in order to be successful. So, when your company is debating whether or not social media is money well spent, don’t blame the communication tool itself, focus on how it is being used. If all the tweets and posts are about YOU or YOUR company, chances are your efforts will not be successful. Social media is a give-to-get culture and here’s the AHA moment, it’s just like real life. No one wants to follow a sales pitch around, but if you’re offering value, you got me.
David Meerman Scott asked what’s the ROI on putting on pants everyday? While we can’t measure that, we may be jobless if we show up to work without pants. A commentor on his blog notes that a company without web marketing is like showing up to the global workplace pantsless! Scott also maintains that the insistence on ROI of social media is an excuse because people are afraid. Click here to listen to a three minute podcast on ROI of social media by David Meerman Scott.
Is your social media approach greedy or generous? What’s the ROI on greed vs. generosity?