Social Media ROI By Another Name

February 23, 2011

By Peter
At the Bridging the Gap Conference last Friday, I had the privilege of seeing some impressive names in marketing, including CC Chapman, Erik Qualman, Dan Zarrella and others. One of the talks, the “ROI of Social Media,” presented by Paul Gillin, was a real eye opener. I've heard sessions before on social media ROI and read countless blogs but Paul's session really struck a chord with me: ROI in social media isn't “return on investment,” it's “risk of inaction.”
What did Paul mean by that? Well, it's quite simple, really. Some out-of-touch executives continue to focus their marketing teams about what kind of money they can make from social media. What they don't realize is that the days of questioning the value of social media are over. The benefits are crystal clear: It's a chance to engage your customers like real humans while also promoting your brand, provided you do it with purpose.
An executive might ask questions like, “how many Twitter followers do we have?” or “how many hits does our website get a month?” Paul likes to define hits as “how idiots track success.” His wording is scathing, but it's also true. If someone goes to your website, it registers as a “hit,” but that doesn't mean the visitor who showed up understands your brand. He might have visited your site, realized it wasn't for him, and left. Sure, that shows up as a hit on your analytics, but it doesn't tell the full story.
Using tools that allow you to track where your visitors click when they visit your site will give you the information necessary to measure its success and adapt as necessary. We use HubSpot, and it has been great for us because it provides the context. Another way to track feedback is with a tool that Kampyle (disclosure: Metis client) offers, which allows for two-way communication between website visitors and your company. Using this feedback approach not only gives you engagement, it can give you quality leads and better conversions.
The biggest risk associated with social media in a business environment is the risk of inaction. Consumers are becoming more well-informed and savvy by the minute, and they know the first place to look for information on your brand is your website. If you're not leveraging social media in addition to your website, all you're doing is shouting. Nobody likes shouters.

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