Let’s talk about social media value and ROI…
Every day, I have conversations with entrepreneurs, executives, small business owners, authors, coaches, service providers, and other thought leaders regarding return on investment for social media campaigns. And I begin every discussion about social media value with a focus on goals and expectations.
When I ask entrepreneurs what their social media goals are, they usually limit their answer to a single focus:
To increase sales.
Business owners want to know if the money they spend on a social media campaign will come back to them in the form of new clients and sales within the first month. When I answer “Absolutely … not,” they generally ask if it’s in the second month of the campaign that will they see increased sales; and I again reply with a less-than-favorable outlook on this prospect.
So then the question is: If you will not be generating sales in the first or second (or third!) months of your social media campaign, why on earth should you get started in the first place?
The answer, of course, is that a properly planned and executed social media campaign will indeed lead to increased clients and sales, but not in the way you might imagine. When people think about marketing ROI, they usually do so in simple terms:
$$ I Made from Investment – $$ I Spent on Investment = Return on Investment
… when, in fact, the equation is not that simple. Social media is not like an advertising campaign where you will see a clear cause-and-effect as illustrated above. Building your reputation, following, and expert status on social media leads to a stronger business and marketing foundation, which in turn generates more clients and sales. But the increase cannot easily be traced back to a single tweet or post.
When people see that you have an up-to-date and compelling Facebook page; that your Instagram posts are compelling; that your LinkedIn profile is professional; and that your tweets are informative and engaging, then they are more likely to have confidence in you and your business. In turn, they are more likely to want to do business with you.
To better illustrate my point, imagine this: Today, you launch a comprehensive social media campaign today on all relevant channels. This will include:
Posting relevant content consistently:
You publish tips, strategies, resources, and links on social that position you as a thought leader in your industry. You post great content so that your followers see your expert advice in your stream every day. You support your expert status with weekly blog articles on your website.
Building a social community of people in your target market:
Every day, you grow your network with clients and potential clients. As the weeks and months go on, you see your community swell with people who may need your products or services.
Engaging with your following.
You regularly like, share, and comment on others’ posts. People see that you are a sharing, contributing member of the social media world.
Can you imagine what your social media infrastructure will look like after one year of launching this campaign?
What do you suppose would happen if you created relevant blog and social media content, posted consistently, built a strong following, and engaged with your audience every day for a full year?
Let me put it another way: Do you think that positioning yourself as a subject matter expert, developing a targeted social media community of hundreds (or thousands!) of targeted followers, and driving traffic to your website would have a positive impact on your business?
So, I ask you: Do you think that a proper social media campaign will generate more sales?
How could it not?
Look at your social media the same way you look at your website: It’s a necessary component of an effective digital marketing foundation. A company that does not have a strong social media presence and following runs the risk of appearing out of touch and behind the times. A weak or non-existing social media foundation can erode confidence among clients and prospects, which can ultimately degrade sales.
What do to now?
The first step in building a powerful social media presence is deciding to do so. One great aspect of launching an effective campaign is that you are not expected to do it all yourself. Many entrepreneurs, companies, and executives achieve success through a combination of personal involvement, delegation, and outsourcing.