Part of what we do for clients is manage their social media channels. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, YouTube – I’m a big believer in social media as a great way to generate buzz, keep your brand top-of-mind, build SEO through legitimate content development, communicate your USP, and all kinds of other good stuff. And I think just about every brand can benefit from social media strategies.
I know an awful lot of people who are spending an awful lot of time on social media, installing all kinds of Twitter widgets and checking their Klout scores every 2 hours and hosting online radio chats for the same 5 participants every week…and who still aren’t making a whole lot of money, either for themselves or for the companies they’re working for.
Remember, ultimately, the whole point of social media (for businesses) is the same as the whole point of advertising and marketing: To make it easier to sell stuff.
Oh, I know you can’t always draw a straight line from 5000 Twitter followers and $X in revenue, any more than you can draw a straight line from a billboard by the highway and $X in revenue. And I know there are side benefits from strong social media presences, like recruiting. And I even know that it’s important to look at the long-term build – it can take months for a successful social media campaign to really have an impact on sales.
If you’ve been spending 15+ hours a week on Twitter for the past year, and haven’t seen a sales increase of any kind, it may be time to ask yourself some questions:
- Do I really know why we’re doing this? In other words, do we have a strategy?
- Can we point to any anecdotal evidence that our social media efforts have delivered an ROI? (Such as a new client first heard of us because of the buzz we’d built on social media, or that the best hire all year came to us through our Facebook page.)
- Is our website traffic benefiting from social media via clickthroughs from social media channels?
- When our salespeople call potential clients, are they increasingly saying “Oh, I’ve heard of you guys!”?
- Is it easier for us/me to get meetings with potential clients?
- Has our Google ranking increased? (Good social media content, and a long-term blog about your brand’s industry, will push your rankings higher.)
- Are our products/services less price sensitive than they used to be, thanks to increased brand equity?
- Have we been invited to events and speaking engagements (as a participant or speaker, not a paying attendee!) as a result of the profile we’ve built via social media?
If the answers to at least a few of these questions are yes, then you’re probably not wasting your time with social media, and the ROI should start showing up any time now.
If not…well, it’s possible you’re spending too much time on social media for its own sake, and not enough time thinking about what it’s really supposed to do for the business overall.