I have written about my feeling regarding social media ROI before, and basically I cringe when I listen to some ‘Social Media’ experts talking about it. I am a small business owner, with Evenfall Restaurant, soon to open Andolini’s Restaurant, and Guestfeed Marketing so I know that when you invest money and time into something for your business you need to get a return. So ROI is important, and to a great extent you can ‘TRACK’ and quantify the leads and sales from social media marketing. But if you are relying on social media monitoring tools to tell you if it is working you are missing the point.
You are Marketing to Humans
By relying on a dashboard, analytics suite, or other ‘automatic’ monitoring and evaluating solution you are getting some level of measurement, but so much of the true effect is lost in translation. That means that you are getting some numbers, charts, and idea of how it is working, but what you are missing may in fact be the difference between continuing and or stopping your social media marketing investment. Anytime you don’t get the whole picture and base business decisions on that limited view you run the risk of making the wrong decisions. In this case you may discontinue your social media marketing because you believe it is not driving business, when in fact it very well may not be being properly measured by your cookie cutter analytics program.
Let’s look at a definition of Social: Seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious.
To use social media to the advantage of your business you will use it to create relationships and find like minded consumers and advocates for your brand. Social media is not a broadcast medium, it is an interaction medium, so if need be sometimes you need to shut up and listen. If you don’t have the time or desire to do so, find someone at your business who does. Thats a rule, try not to break it. You will participate in the conversation and do so without solely selling all the time, you will share others ideas and services, you will share, say thank you, and root others on. You will be a friend, a champion, and true to your beliefs. That is being human, being social, and being genuine. That is all it takes.
What is My definition of Social ROI?
I guess you should meet Jan and Jim, they are a Greek couple in their 60s that live in Haverhill Ma which is also the home to one of my Restaurants, Evenfall. I have owned and operated Evenfall for over 7 years, and in that time Jan and Jim had come in zero times prior to last week. Having driven past it a thousand times over the last 7 years, what finally spurred them to come in? This:
What the F*!k does that have to do with Social Media Marketing ROI?
What is has to do with social ROI is that this article was written by Heather Atwood, whom I met through social media. Heather is a food lover who appreciates the local food scene and the fact that Evenfall sources so much of what we sell from our local farms, dairies, and fishermen. During the past year we have exchanged tweets, emails, text messages, and phone calls that eventually led up to this article. Having ‘Met’ her on twitter eventually led to this article, which led Jan and Jim to see a Greek name as the owner, and that was all it took for them.
Others may have read it and identified with the local food aspect, a cheese we sell, or something else altogether, the fact is that it was written, it was read, and it drove business.
How is your dashboard going to include that in ROI?
The answer is… it isn’t. And while that article sits on the Eagle Tribune’s website for the next five years, and drives business slowly but surely, it still won’t. It also won’t record the subsequent visits that Jan and Jim make, or the people they tell for that matter. But in the end, the twitter connection with Heather may prove to provide my business with a ROI nearly as valuable as her friendship provides me personally. Its just not gonna all be in the numbers, and if you want it all in a neat little package there is going to be someone out there that will sell you a pretty graph, and some random metrics, but this is human business and human business isn’t neat and tidy, it is complicated and complex. What you need is to understand that you will not see all the permutations, but you should be able to feel the human connections, the advocates, and the fans your business has through social media.
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I am Spirocks on Twitter.