People often ask how they can measure the ROI (return on investment) of their social media marketing efforts. The following is just a single point I’d like to make. It’s something to think about, discuss, and debate. I have many others, but let’s just take this one step at a time, eh? Hence “The Series”.
I live outside the city of San Francisco. Heading into the city you’ll no doubt see a giant billboard for Apple. For years, every week it rotated different images of iPods. With the popularity of the iPad the rotation is now all iPad – go figure.
I’ll bet your town has at least one. There’s a reason I bring this up. There are 2 kinds people in social media, the “ROI Centric” and the “everyone else” (gross generalization).
The ROI Centric is the “show me the numbers” type. Constantly watching A/B test analytics, click thru rates, referral sources, bounce rates and more. They speak in acronyms. They track everything. No really, they track everything! This isn’t cutting edge tech, it’s old school marketing. They send out mass mailers (as in postcards) with special 800 numbers to track calls. They have targeted landing pages for each campaign on their websites. Know what an OODA Loop is? They probably do.
Their general motto: “If there’s a quantity involved you can track it, analyze it, and refine your efforts.” And that’s a very valid point. Guess what? They are 100% right! (almost)
Yes, in most every social media network there is a quantity involved. We can track the number of followers, the number of tweets, the number of friends and connections. We can track how many times a tweet is tweeted, a link is clicked or an image viewed. All verifiable quantifiable numbers. Sounds perfect for the ROI Centric right?
That means in theory, you could actually determine the ROI of a tweet or update.
If I send out 3,000 tweets, I know I’ll sell x widgets. If I invite x amount of people to my Facebook Page I’ll get x amount of LIKES and if I update x times a day I’ll sell x widgets. That’s what the ROI Centric wants to know. To them, time is money. Automation allows a greater number reached with less time involved.
Things are very different when it comes to social media marketing. I think we should change that to “Conversational Marketing” but that’s another topic for a later date. Here’s my point. Let’s go back to the Apple Billboard.
That billboard has numbers too. It costs a specific amount of money to post, update and maintain. There are a specific number of people who drive by it everyday. Hey, with some sort of face recognition and a traffic camera we could probably quantify the number of people who look up as they drive by. Numbers.
Let me ask the ROI Centric a simple question… How many iPods/iPads has that billboard sold? How many people have looked at that billboard day after day and went out and bought a new iPad? Can’t answer that? No worries, neither can Apple. To Apple this billboard is about remaining top of mind. It’s brand recognition.
I contend that social media is not about numbers as well. It’s Quality not Quantity. It’s remaining top of mind. It’s brand recognition and so much more. Social media isn’t about the sheer number of friends, fans, or followers I have, it’s about the people I have meaningful conversations and relationships with.
I’ve often said I would rather have 100 people who were passionate about what I do than have my message reach millions who could care less. I can easily engage with those people, be a active part of their lives, and enrich the quality of our relationship. These are the people who actively refer business to me. You want Social Media ROI? That’s mine and if you ask me, there’s no better way!
Photo credits: allaboutgeorge
- The Brand that doesn’t use Social Media Tops Social Brands List (penn-olson.com)
- 3 Metrics to Prove to Your Boss That Social Media Marketing is Working (hubspot.com)
- How Does Social Media Change Your Business? (thinkup.waldenu.edu)
- Social Media is a Give and Take Relationship (marketingconversation.com)