3 Reasons the “ROI of Social Media” Debate Continues

After years of case studies showing social media’s power to connect people (customers, partners, and employees), you would think the debate would be settled.

It’s not.

In fact, it’s just beginning in some companies…now in a new way.

While nearly everyone is probably willing to admit there is some value to social media and that “it works”, a new question is arising.

Exactly how much is it worth?

This video parodies what’s going on in some companies as the new year begins.

How do situations like this happen?

Sometimes decision makers are not educated enough on what they were buying, had their expectations set too high, or don’t have patience to see it through.  It might even be a combination of all three.

Here are three big reasons why leaders are beginning a new round of debates about the value of social media in the marketing mix:

1) Poor Education


Leaders are not being educated on what they are buying, how long it will take, or what it actually does.

Sometimes, overzealous marketing leaders used the “Everyone’s Doing It” pitch and got approval without explaining that social media is a new kind of war, not a single battle.

2) Wrong Expectations

Have you heard or said things like:

  • “Social media is free advertising!”
  • “Social media will make sales explode!”
  • “Let’s make it go viral!”
  • “We won’t have to spend money on other expensive marketing routes.”

In reality, using social media is only one part of building a modern business.  Setting expectations too high, too fast, or too easy makes for trouble.

3) Lack of Patience

Some leaders have been properly educated with correct expectations, but just don’t have the patience.  Their ADHD leadership tendencies make them lose focus or patience and they withdraw support so they can focus on their next great strategy.

 

Social media is not a strategy.  It is a method of communicating.

Communication can be good.  Communication can be bad.  However, for most industries there is no way to calculate return on investment of communication.

It is everything.

If you choose to do social media poorly, you are choosing to do business poorly.

Don’t stop something you’ve started because you’re impatient or afraid.  This social media stuff isn’t going away and your competitors are only spending more time and money each quarter on finding ways to connect with your clients.  Ignore it for too long, and your clients may begin to ignore you too.

Finish the debate tonight,

Aaron@Biebert

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6 Levels of Social Media Investment

Recently, I wrote that it was time for leaders to get on board with social media.  Some were confused.

What did I mean?

A few people thought I was advocating for huge social media marketing budgets and ignoring the need for a return on investment (ROI).  I don’t like wasting money, so I need to clarify the difference between opening an account on a social networking channel and doing full-fledged social media marketing campaigns with original content.

There are varying levels of investment.

A sliding social media investment scale starts with simply opening an account and ends when an organization is actively creating content and launching innovative social media marketing.

There is no guarantee of a proportionate return on an increasing investment.  The more you invest, the higher chance that you could be wasting resources.  However, the less you invest, the higher chance that you’re missing out on new opportunities.  The most successful marketing leaders will find the sweet spot for their organizations.

To illustrate, here are the 6 levels as I see them, along with some examples:

Level 0) I can’t find you on Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin

Level 1) Offering a One Way Communication Channel

Level 2) Listening and Learning

Level 3) Engaging

Level 4) Content Sharing

Level 5) Content Creation

How much do you need to do on Social Media before you begin wasting resources? That is the Billion Dollar question.  Let me know if you come up with the answer for everyone.

What’s your take?

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Social Media is a Waste of Money…

…if you say it is.

Social Media has no ROI” statements are self-fulfilling prophecies shouted from the rooftops by nervous leaders too afraid to open their eyes and see the new world we live in.

Their prophecies will come true for them. I promise.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”
— Henry Ford

Social media is a game changer because it fundamentally changes the way humans interact with each other.

If your business deals with humans, social media doesn’t need a return on investment (ROI) to be justified anymore than phones need to be justified in a call center. It’s like asking for projections on the ROI of speaking. Just like voices and phones, social media is the way hundreds of millions of people are communicating with each other every day.

Help them open their eyes.  The world is changing!

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert
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