What is the ROI of social media? You will never know unless you look for it.
The masses seem to only want the fluff pieces. Honesty is still in the ignore stage. The truth about social media will come out eventually but it’s still probably another year away.
People are still mesmerized by the shiny BS about social media (SM) that they have been spoon fed for the past three years. Eventually the shine will tarnish to expose the core. People still think SM has some magical quality.
It can be magical, but that’s rare.
How many business owners do you know that are having great success with social media? I mean in terms of their business bottom line. I’m not even convinced that many companies are getting engagement out of it.
It really is a shame. But the reason I say this is because of what companies have been taught thus far.
I don’t like to speak ill of people but truth be told, many of the pioneers of social media were spreading the message that ROI is unimportant. Then their followers misunderstood the message and continued to spread the word because they all somehow became social media experts after seeing them speak.
Many of the “experts” in the industry poo poo and mock ROI. I’m not sure this is such an effective strategy when their end goal is to consult businesses and get them involved in social media.
Please Drink Responsibly
Listening to an expert speak doesn’t make you an expert. I’m not eager to jump in to something new after I have just spent only one day at a conference listening to people mock the users. To me it just feels like I’m being set up to be the subject of the next keynote.
I think a better strategy would be for experts to show SM users what is working. And I’m not talking case studies either. Most of them are self-serving and skewed in favour of the agency. (Great examples here by Jay Baer and here by Olivier Blanchard)
Many of the base line numbers quoted are nothing but vanity metrics designed to pad the agency’s numbers in order to sell to the next client.
I want real numbers. I want to see that your bottom line increased 30 or 60 days after your campaign. I’m not talking about gaining 2,000 more followers and your sentiment went up. Sentiment is great but it alone won’t pay your bills.
Many of these newly crowned “experts” have no business acumen or experience. That’s the big problem. What happens when social media evolves into a business tool? They won’t know what to do and it will cripple an already new and fickle industry. What happens when it goes deeper than social media? When it has to be tied to solid business objectives and they don’t know how?
That will be the bubble that bursts.
When that happens, and I believe that it will at some point, much credibility will be lost and we’ll have to start over.
Business is about ROI, like it or not. It has to be a consideration in every aspect of business regardless.
Yes, the ROI of websites is still in question. As was email, the phone, the telegraph, carrier pigeons, and everything before it. Businesses have always wanted justification of new technologies before they invest in them. They want to know that their investment will yield a return. Businesses that aren’t looking for ways to calculate real world ROI on all of their business initiatives will be doomed eventually.
Let’s try to embrace their fears and guide them through instead of mocking them and adding the fear of doing it wrong and ridicule to the already large pile. Tell me that social media is full of bumbling idiots and I’m hardly champing at the bit to get started.
We know the adage measure twice, cut once. In business we can use the adage measure twice, execute once.