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Return on Social Media

Social Media – The Hype

One of the most common business conversation topics, themes of seminars and email advertisements revolves around the question, “How do I use social media to grow my business?” Invariably there are businesses who have tried different tactics that have failed to give the return on investment they were hoping for.

Ads for companies that create Facebook pages are big right now. Many businesses buy into the belief that if they create a Facebook page for their business, and maybe for Linked-In (if they are really motivated) those pages will translate into more qualified leads and ultimately more sales. Typically that is not the case.

Social Media Success Story – P&G

We have all heard stories of businesses that have been very successful utilizing social media channels to market their products and service. Just a couple weeks ago, a story broke regarding Procter and Gamble and their utilization of Social Media and other Internet channels. One prominent headline read, “P&G To Lay Off 1,600 After Discovering It’s Free To Advertise On Facebook.” Another read, “P&G to Cut 1,600 Jobs, Bank on Digital for Long-term Saving.” Procter and Gamble knows a thing or two about advertising. Their CEO, Bob McDonald, was quoted during the latest P&G earnings conference call, saying, “In the digital space, with things like Facebook and Google and others, we find that the return on investment of the advertising, when properly designed, when the big idea is there, can be much more efficient.” Mr McDonald went on to say, “One example is our Old Spice campaign, where we had 1.8 billion free impressions and there are many other examples I can cite from all over the world.

When the big idea is already there

Social media can be a great amplifier for your ideas and your message. The Old Spice guy was developed extensively on television media, and supported in print media and other traditional marketing channels. Social media was simply used to amplify, multiply and allow this message to go viral. People who wanted more could easily access more content and Facebook, and had the easy ability to like it and share it with their friends. That is how you get 1.8 billion free impressions. If you do not establish a compelling message on non social media channels with high quality, compelling content, you have nothing of value to amplify or multiply on social media. Zero times anything is still zero.

Social Media Success Story – Sears

One of my good friends was unsatisfied with service she received on her Sears Kenmore washer. She sent a twitter complaining about it and mentioned #sears in the tweet. Less than thirty minutes later, she received a response via twitter and soon thereafter received a promise to send out a new technician to resolve the issue to her satisfaction. Sears sent the technician promptly, he fixed the problem quickly and completely. Not only was my friend happy, but everyone connected to her twitter account was witness to that well executed lesson on how to deal with customer complaints. Sears turned the initially negative feedback into a huge advertising win for their company, simply by listening and responding promptly. Most companies would not even be aware that this negative press was out there. Sears was listening, was able to connect a twitter complain with a customer database, and then took initiative and action to solve a problem; and that effort paid off for them.

It is a Conversation

Social media is most effective when it is used to create and actively engage conversations around a social topic. Professional social media is most effective when it is used to create and actively engage conversations around a topic that relates back to a business, product and/or service. A conversation is two-sided. Good conversation includes more active listening than speaking. Most businesses are not equipped to be actively listening to all social medial channels they should be engaged with. Professional Internet Presence Marketing companies can create, monitor and actively engage these channels on your behalf, escalating conversations to your business when the conversation extends beyond the bounds of the agreed upon topics.

In a healthy relationship, positive conversations should occur much more often than negative ones. Most companies are not creating high-quality, valuable content that their prospects will like, engage, and start positive conversations about. When you are in a crowd, you need a compelling presence and message to be the focus of conversation. Professional Internet Presence Marketing companies can work alongside you to create quality, engaging content, on a regular basis, and will keep your prospects and customers engaged and in conversation around the social buzz that results from your content.

Where is the return in investment?

If your plan on investing only in a Facebook and maybe LinkedIn page, you may be better off not doing anything. Social media that does not amplify and multiply a strong, existing message or value proposition, and social media presences that will not create or engage ongoing conversations, will, at best accomplish nothing, and at worst, highlight the fact that you have no real social media strategy. Worse yet, it could imply that you do not care about your prospects and even your customers. Professional Social Media can be a huge benefit, and offer outstanding return on investment, if you develop a social media strategy that has amplification, multiplication and conversation around high quality, engaging content, that occurs on a ongoing, regular basis.