I really do enjoy being a resource for people who need advice on social media. While I’m still waiting to hit the 1,000,000 friend count on Twitter myself (I’m only about 999,234 people away) I do know enough about social media that I often get asked for advice on the topic.The typical inquirer is a business owner. They have been spending $1,000’s every year on traditional advertising (magazines, newspapers, television, radio) and now they want to know what their ROI is if they use social media sites like Facebook or Twitter to advertise their product. It’s a bad question. Here’s why. Social media is actually pretty simple. It’s two words “social” and “media". The social part is the new part. It's not a place where you buy and ad and wait for the clicks (which often equal purchases) to come in. There’s NOTHING social about traditional advertising. NOTHING. Social means…
…the business owner doesn’t get to choose the message anymore.
…you don’t have to pay for your ideas to spread.
…other people’s opinions on your product are just as, and probably more respected than yours.
…you have to go to where your customers are having conversations. You can’t expect them to listen to your message on your channel, in your publication or on your station. They're not there anymore or if they are they don't trust the messages they hear there. Media means…
…it lasts forever b/c it’s on the net. Google your business and you’ll probably find two things right away in your first listing – your contact information and a list of reviews on your service. You can change your address but you can’t change those reviews. They're there forever.
…you can package your message so it's easier than ever to spread. Have you ever taped a television commercial, put it in an envelope and mailed it to a friend b/c you loved it so much? No? Have you ever forwarded a video? Yeah, I thought so. This media allows you to SHARE information (b/c it's social). Back to the bad question…the right question isn't "What's my ROI" for two reasons. 1. Return on investment implies it cost a lot of money. Spreading your message via social media can cost some money, but not nearly as much as you think. 2. The "I" in ROI implies that what is being spent is money. In fact social media usually resists those who spend money on messages. It’s about ROR “Return on Relationship” Social media is a place where businesses can build relationships with customers. Customers of businesses can build relationships with each other. Customers of businesses can influence people they have relationships with that have never heard of your company. Relationships, relationships, relationships…that's what social media is about. My "friends" count on Facebook means something. When I say something people believe me (for the most part). So stop asking what's your ROI on social media please. Start asking "What's my ROR on social media?" I think the answer is, "If you really care about people then the return on your relationships will be great. If you just want to sell something then that's a lousy foundation for a relationship. If you want to measure ROI then go buy a TV ad and measure the response (which is questionable as well). If you want to build relationships with loyal customers who will make your business grow and improve then welcome to social media. It' s nice to have you here. Let's be friends.