One of my favorite sales gurus, Jeffrey Gitomer, posted a blog the other day entitled, “Measuring The ROI of Social Media? There’s a Laugh, and a Joke,” and I wanted to address this topic since it is a hot debate with valid points on both sides. Every business that has attempted to create a social media strategy has likely wrestled with this very subject, so I will do my best to provide some insight.
Gitomer makes a great point when he says that social media is running wild with or without you. Your customers and prospective customers are on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn so if you don’t get involved, you’ll be swimming in a sea of lost opportunity.
The opposing argument to this philosophy includes points such as:
- If social media is so great, how come I can’t trace it back to specific sales?
- If there is a ‘lost opportunity’ I should be able to measure it
- How can I reasonably create a social media strategy without calculating ROI?
Like I said, these are all valid points but they stem from a few inherent misunderstandings regarding social media. If you think everyone who sees your commercial or notices your ad in the newspaper is going to feel compelled to tell you about it, you are sorely mistaken.
What Is The Currency of Social Media?
Engagement has long been heralded as the currency of social media but does engagement really pay the bills? If everyone else believes engagement is the currency of social media, does that mean you could be engaging with people who are trying to get ahead, just like you?
High levels of engagement is all well and good but as social media becomes more ingrained in society, businesses will need to go deeper than that to get the results they seek.
Reach for tangible results that show you are gaining influence such as:
- Increased and consistent web traffic
- Increased email list subscribers
- Increased time spent on page
What Are The Realistic Expectations?
I can almost guarantee you that anyone who is confused about social media generating ROI hasn’t even considered how it fits into their current sales funnel. Even worse, they might not even have a sales funnel, which likely means they aren’t getting sales from anywhere!
Think about how you can improve the lifetime value of a customer and encourage referrals by integrating your social media strategy into an existing sales funnel. Even though many of your customers enjoy using social tools to communicate and stay in the loop, most of them still prefer traditional mediums to facilitate the final sale by picking up the phone or emailing you.
If you people are trying to place an order through your Facebook page, you probably have done a poor job at directing them through your funnel. Any social media strategy will be deflated if the chain of events a prospect must follow lacks clarity and a proper call-to-action.
Do you agree or disagree with Jeffrey Gitomer and say that calculating the ROI of your social media strategy is a joke? Let’s continue the debate in the comment section below.
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