The Right Way To Approach Social Media ROI

Return On Investment.

Such an interesting topic in the world of social media and business.

I can say that first hand because that’s quite obviously one of the first questions I get from prospective clients. “What is the average ROI for that platform?” “What kind of return have you seen from your other clients?” “This sounds like a big waste of money to me. Can you tell me why it’s not?”

Look. I understand that these are crucial points of interest to you when you’re considering incorporating social media into your marketing plan, but you need to get out of the money-mindset initially to really be able to answer those questions.

“Now you’re scamming me.” Okay, hang on. Hear me out.

If all you can think about is how you can make money off the people you want to communicate with through social media, you’re not going to get a single dime on return. Just ask all the scammers on Twitter how much their making.

The entire basis of why social media works (and why it’s not going away) is because of how it instantly bridges the gap between businesses and consumers developing relationships. That’s why you have to care what they are saying about you on other websites. That’s why you have to share the love with your biggest advocates. And, most of all, that’s why you have to want to give as willingly as you’d like to receive.

So considering your customers on the same level playing field as yourself, what you can do for them? What can you do to win their respect? Their advocacy? Their loyalty?

When you take those ideas and turn them into items you can actually put a price tag on, we can now have the conversations of ROI. How much money will the business save by delegating  a portion of customer service to social media? How can we develop a giveaway to leverage more word-of-mouth for our grand opening? How can we assist bloggers with relevant audiences in return for sharing information about our products/services?

Do you see how those questions are different than asking “what’s the ROI of Twitter?” It’s because just like the cable station can’t tell you the ROI of a 30 second-spot on TV and that advertising agency can’t tell you what return to expect from putting your name on a bus stop, without a plan for the platform, I can’t tell you the ROI of social media either.

So when you have that conversation with your consultant, be prepared to bring more knowledge and ideas to the table if you want a straight answer about return on investment.

We’re measuring conversions, not conversations. You have to see that before you can profit.