The big question with Social Media is “is this worth my time?”
It’s an important question to ask each and every time you weigh the options and decide where to invest your energy and resources. I will answer this question for you, but we need to address a few issues first…
When you think of Social Media as the ability to have conversations with far greater impact than ever before and in a way that allows you to create and foster a community more efficiently
Some people say “Social Media is a fad.”
The definition of a ‘fad’, according to Dictionary.com, is “an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something…that is short-lived.”
Most fads come and go.
And if you’re looking to capitalize on them you need to catch them well before they hit their peak.
If you jump on board too late in the game you will still need to put in as much effort as the person who got involved months or years before you…and yet the return you can expect is often far less.
The Numbers May Not Add Up
When you take a look at the infographic below from Pagemodo, your first reaction about the ROI of Social Media may not be a positive one. Take for example, that only “20% say social marketing is producing a measurable ROI…”
And while this study showed that “64% of business owners investing in Social Media Marketing were confident it will deliver a return” on the same page it shows that only 25% of survey respondents can attribute an increase in sales to Social Media.
As astute marketers we all pride ourselves on our ability to track our advertising and marketing and make it accountable and measurable. If you read the headline of Eric Savitz’s article in Forbes from August 2012 titled “3 Reasons Why There’s No Measuring ROI on Social Media” you may come away with a sour taste in your mouth for Social Media.
Luckily there is hope. Savitz in fact does outline 3 suggestions on how marketers can make Social Media measurable. For example, he recommends that you “establish correlation” between what you are doing in Social Media, your brand’s performance and sales.
Brian Solis takes this a step further by outlining some great ways to think about ROI and Social Media. The key he says is “tying social media to business objectives and metrics [which] helps…see a clearer picture.”
In a report by Susan Etlinger from Altimeter Group, you’ll see exactly how this works.
Here you clearly see (and can imagine) how a company uses Social Media to resolve customer service issues more efficiently, which reduces call center traffic, which in turn improves the company’s financial performance.
At last! We now get a sense of how Social Media can impact ROI.
A Key Problem
The reason most people don’t get the results they are looking for with Social Media is because they go about it the wrong way.
“80 percent of marketers incorrectly begin with tactics instead of goals.” -eMarketer Report
As you can see from the above funnel image, the key problem is that people get all excited about social media and jump right into ‘tactics’ instead of first looking at their .mission and goals’.
Let’s Talk Sales
Okay, the above framework is nice…yet I’m sure you want to talk more about money, right?
Can you actually make money with Social Media?
The answer is a big YES!
Dennis Pang wrote a great article about the ROI of Social Media where he shared results that his company helped his restaurant client’s achieve. His full article is here…but here’s a juicy piece of it for you:
“We also ran a Facebook campaign, giving away over 500 gift cards to all those who ‘liked’ their page. Over a quarter of these gift cards were redeemed within one month. As a result of these two campaigns, the restaurant’s profits have increased by over 30% from where they were last year. And it all happened in less than two months.”
What About Consulting?
Great question, what about consulting? Does Social Media work for consultants?
Of course it does.
I consider myself fairly active in Social Media and have built up my online presence over the years. As a result of this involvement I’ve landed consulting and speaking opportunities.
One such engagement (which came directly from someone I didn’t know), led me to work with the Royal Bank of Canada, Canada’s largest bank.
Improve Your Social Media Results
MIT Sloan Management Review published an article that outlines a 7 step process to increase results from your online efforts.
Here are 3 of their suggestions…
“Identify social media users who are both influential and particularly interested in the company’s product or service category.
Incentivize those influencers to talk about the company’s product or service.
Use metrics to calculate the value of an individual’s influence.”
Taking this a step further, here is a presentation by Angie Schottmuller on “How to plan, justify and gauge the value of social media marketing efforts.”
Let’s Sump Up and Talk Abour Your Mother
Yes, I’ll get to talking about your Mother in just a second.
But first it’s important that you really understand what Social Media is about…
…it’s not a fad.
The technology and tools that we use such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest may turn out to be ‘fads’ of some kind.
Yet they are simply (and of course powerful) tools and platforms. “They” are not what makes Social Media valuable.
When you think of Social Media as the ability to have conversations with far greater impact than ever before and in a way that allows you to create and foster a community more efficiently…you start to see the power of Social Media.
Why It Matters for Consultants
As a consultant if I ask you what is the best way to land clients, without a doubt the vast majority of you will say “referrals”. And these are simply the result of what we like to call ‘word-of-mouth’ marketing. And Social Media is in fact ‘word-of-mouth’ marketing (for good and bad) on a serious dose of steroids.
So Why Bring Your Mother Into This?
Gary Vaynerchuk is one of the leading minds in the Digital (and Social Media) world these days. He regularly is paid between $25,000-$50,000 for keynote presentations according to CTI.
Gary has shared an interesting story about Social Media. The story goes that Gary was in a meeting. One executive in the room asked him “what’s the ROI of Social Media?” and Gary responded by asking “What’s the ROI of Your Mother?”
Sounds hardcore I know…but here’s how Jennifer Bourn describes Gary’s response:
“Gary went on to explain that his mother raised him, believed in him, supported him, encouraged him. His mother helped to make Gary who is he today. She instilled in him valuable life lessons, ethics, integrity, manners, caring. Gary’s success today can be traced back to his mother … So what’s the ROI of his mother? That’s not something you can easily track, but the answer is obvious. Priceless.”
Read that again. There is a subtle yet incredibly powerful message in that about Social Media.
When you’re so focused on the tactics and seeing an increase in sales and leads you may lose sight of the long-term value building relationships and a community can have on your business.
Jennifer Bourn explains it this way: “The key is making sure you’re using social media the right way. That means don’t just broadcast, push, promote, talk, sell, and throw up content. Instead, use social media for listening and answering and engaging, and learning.”
Is It Right For You?
Maybe, maybe not. That depends on your goals, plans and current situation and resources. For some consultants, building a strong online presence and being active in social media will be a huge benefit to their business.
Others may choose to continue focusing on different marketing avenues that are already providing them a strong return on investment.
What’s critical is that you do what makes sense for your business. If your clients aren’t on Social Media in any meaningful way, it may not be the best use of your time. On the other hand, if your clients are online, Social Media is a great way to connect with them, educate them, add value to their lives and be seen as an authority in the process.
What are your thoughts on Social Media? What has worked or not worked for you? I’d like to hear from you in the comments below.