I’ve been asked (on occasion) – “What’s the ROI” of Social Media.
ROI = Return on Investment
Which means, if you’ve invested a certain amount of time and money, how much have you sold to make a profit off of what you’re doing.
Fortunately, with Web 1.0 (one-way pushed online content such as websites), we’ve been able to track click-thrus and quantify data to see what content or products people are engaging with.
With Web 2.o (two-way engagement, such as Social Media), we’ve been able to extend our brands even further by building communities of people who are actively interested in receiving more information from our business.
The answer to that question is a loud, bellowing — NO!!!!
Does answering customer questions, concerns, kudos or complaints have an ROI? (BTW, are you tracking real-life data on personal interactions to see how many face-to-face connections converts into sales for your business?)
What about the note pads, pens and coffee mugs you’ve handed out with your name on them? Are you tracking this awareness and brand resonance for your company?
TV ads, newspapers, magazines – sure, there are audits that track how many people “see” the ad but do they really SEE it? If you’re investing in these traditional forms of advertising, what ROI are you getting from these (somewhat) intangible platforms?
What is the BIGGEST and best form of “advertising”/marketing for all businesses? Word-of-mouth.
Social Media is word-of-mouth on steroids.
We are no longer reaching one-to-one. As Brian Solis says, we are reaching “one-to-one-to-many.”
Listening to your customers, making them feel heard and important to your business is essential.
How you respond to customer complaints, concerns and compliments speaks volumes.
Showing your entire community that you are listening to what your customers want and making them feel like a vital part of your business (because they ARE!) is a must.
Social Media is a tool to help you better connect with your target audience.
Building trust, getting them to know you and like you is what gets them to buy.
The ROI that you invest in relationship building at a mass level will pay off. Perhaps not in click-thrus. Perhaps not always via quantifiable data that shows a direct cause-and-effect from a hotlink to a purchase.
But if relationships weren’t important to your business then you wouldn’t need marketing and you wouldn’t need sales.
The king of business (en francais c’est le ROI!), is relationships, which is an un-quantifiable, emotional connection.