Measuring Social Media ROI Is Like Trying To Measure The ROI Of Conversation

 

Have you ever sat down and tried to crunch the numbers of how much money you’re spending talking to colleagues on company time and comparing that against how much money it made you in return? How about all the time spent sending emails or making phone calls?

Not to mention all the time spent having meetings that don’t accomplish as much as what everyone could have done collectively if they used that time doing something more productive.

Of course you don’t measure the ROI of these things, that’s preposterous, you just chalk it up to the cost of doing business. With social media becoming more and more of a necessity, why are companies so hung up on measuring its ROI to make sure they are getting their money’s worth out of it?

Social Media Is A Necessity

Social media is maturing beyond its experimental stage and realizing its true value to a business. Businesses that are growing are the ones who are using social media effectively.

Why is it a necessity?
Customers who are actively involved in social media are engaged with brands and companies that they like to do business with. As a result, they can help grow your business as much as any well designed marketing plan.

People like to do business with those who they know, like and trust. Getting to know your customers and earning their trust can be an invaluable way of ensuring their loyalty and repeat business. Social media is a powerful tool for accomplishing this, which is why it shouldn’t be looked at as strictly a selling tool. A better way of looking at it would be as a relationship-based selling component.

Relationships Are Non-Measurable

How do you measure the value of a relationship? You can’t, and if you could it would feel weird. I mean, why would you want to reduce the people you know down to a metric, they should be more important to you than that. Also, relationships are unpredictable. There’s no way to tell where relationships with certain people will lead to, but there are some very real benefits to developing and maintaining relationships over social media channels.

Relationships lead to networking.
Knowing people can lead to you connecting with others who you never would have met otherwise. A lot of the time, especially in the business world, people meet on social media before they meet in real life. But it still feels a bit unnatural to just start tweeting at a potential business partner before you’ve met them, or at the very least have been introduced to them.

This is where your social media connections come in. People who you’ve developed relationships with can help bridge the gap between you and your next business partner. This happens organically and it’s happening all the time. If you’re not actively involved in social media you are missing out on an incredible networking opportunity.

Word of mouth spreads fast, and can affect your reputation.
As I said before, people do business with who they like and trust. They also make recommendations to who they like and trust, and if those people have a good experience with your company then they will go on to recommend others. Alternatively, negative impressions spread as quickly as positive ones so it’s important to keep relationships warm.

Social media can make or break your reputation. You’ve worked hard to build your reputation, and sometimes you have to work equally as hard to maintain it. An easy way to maintain a good reputation over social media is to keep relationships warm, which can be done in a number of ways.

Keep relationships warm through constant communication.
Did you know that if someone has a question or concern about your business they are much more likely to take it to social media rather than sending an email or making a phone call? This is why it’s important to consistently monitor your social media channels so you can quickly and efficiently respond to them.

Another way to keep relationships warm is to interact with them even when you don’t necessarily want something from them. This can be done by providing interesting content for them instead of always trying to promote your business. Or even something as simple as responding to one of their personal tweets or Facebook status updates once in a while goes a long way in showing that you care about them.

Metrics Still Matter

I’m not saying metrics don’t matter, they do. You can’t stay in business without measuring ROI, but social media isn’t one of the things that should be measured that way. If you’re trying to measure how many tweets you’ve posted against how many sales you’ve made, you’re doing it wrong.

Social media is about about relationships, so treat it as a relationship-building tool that over time will lead to increased sales and new opportunities. I love hearing stories about how relationships made over social media have helped to improve your business, so if you have one for me then please share in the comments section.

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