Since social media rewrote the book on marketing, the debate about what it actually delivers for business is hot.
With budgets tight and resources stretched, business owners want to know: if I invest - what's the ROI? Some might think this is a fair question. I think it's the wrong question.
Changing the thinking around social media ROI
Before we understand what social media can deliver, we need to change our thinking. Social media is not a sales channel in the traditional sense. You can't broadcast sales messages and expect sales in return.
Judging the worth of social media by only looking at the ROI makes way for disastrous social media management. By focusing on ROI your social media suddenly becomes a sales funnel. In a bid to increase ROI relentless sales messages are released, but instead of increasing sales your audience is driven away. Remember: Do you want to be sold to on social media?
And what's more, it's very difficult to place a reliable revenue value on metrics. A Facebook fan buys as a result of an email campaign click; do you attribute that sale to Facebook andemail marketing? Would the sale have happened with out the other?
So what's the purpose of social media?
Put simply, social media has two purposes:
TO START A CONVERSATION
By getting people talking about you (and to you) you can tell your brand story, create brand advocates and shift a brand's perception.
CUSTOMER SERVICE AND/OR REPUTATION MANAGEMENT
Not all businesses service their customers through social platforms but some do. It can provide a great platform to provide customer service and manage your online reputation.
Can we measure the true purpose of social media?
Just because it's hard to place a solid ROI figure on social media, doesn't mean you can't measure the effectiveness of social media. So before you delete your Facebook page and pack up your Pinterest, hang 10.
Next week I'll break down the metrics you can use to measure if your social media is truly delivering for your brand.