Are you looking to get a return on social media in 2016? I know that used to be the way I used to approach social media. I would always look forward to mapping out a good plan for using social media to see it I could land that big account by someone finding myself or my company on a social media site. The truth is social media, at least for me is a good place to connect with people but it is not the place to be if I am ultimately going to increase sales.
What happened? How did we get there?
Deep down, I believe everyone wants to be included and likes to be social and not kept out of the loop. In 2008-2010 time frame, I had a ton of fun watching myself and others try to build a following on social media sites like Twitter. The follower counts went up and we actually found great tools that for a few dollars would find followers for us based on our key words. Life was great, I promised to follow you and you promised to follow me and we pretended we were a great team. Reality set in and we realized all these followers would never buy a single product or service from us. We cut back our followers and only followed quality people and still these people were only making a very small part of our business.
Today, I still follow some quality marketers and companies that produce great content, but I have yet to pay for their services. If I'm not paying for their services, how can I expect others who read my content and pay for my products or services.
I still attend marketing conferences where companies indicate to me that social media has a place in their business, but I have yet to see numbers that tie the following together
current company clients = social media clients = $$ - - Have never seen any presentation where these three areas are tied together? Have you?
Am I still trying to prove social media produces ROI?
This is the question I have asked myself for the last eight years. I really believe up until 2014, I was trying to prove social media could produce ROI. I would look at analytics like page accounts, new accounts, increased sales, etc. The truth is I could not find a direct correlation between social media and ROI
If you want to see how many of your clients found you through social media ask them. Place this question on your new account form. Send out a client survey. The results were really telling. Each year I would ask people if they found us on social media and I would typically receive responses between 0-6%. Next, I would ask myself how much business did these 0-6% account for and the data showed that sales were in the 0.###% range.
I have looked at other metrics like new accounts, but when I ask them how they found us, I see less than 1% list social media as a reason. Internet search and referrals are the reasons that usually get the most results.
How I use Social Media and What I Look For?
For me, social media is a communication channel. I post content on our company/professional blog and send it out on sites like Linkedin, GooglePlus, Twitter and Facebook. It is a great way to get information in front of people. Broadcasting information is not a bad thing. I've actually sent out information regarding pricing or a new product or service and found great reaction to the information I posted. I look at REACTION not ENGAGEMENT. If someone reacts to some information I posted, I will send a reaction back. Engaging a conversation on Twitter or Facebook is counterproductive in my mind.
I read great information from some great people I am connected with. If I really like an article I let them know. I don't try to start a conversation by asking a number of questions and look for answers. People like to be noticed and comments are always appropriate. If you read something great, take the time and tell the person. Pluses, likes and hearts don't tell the whole story and are nice. A lot of people do nice things. Take the time and add more value by actually typing out a comment.
Numbers are numbers on social media. Don't read too much into them. If people like your content or have an interest in your profile, they will followup with you. Also, don't buy into the idea that you have to know the person before you connect with them on social media, especially Linkedin. If you look at a potential person you want to connect with and you share a lot of common connections and their profile is interesting, send them an invitation. The worse they can tell you is no. Also, connect with people in your industry even if you don't know them. It is a great way to learn more about your industry.
Move on from Social Media
Take time and revisit your marketing strategy and look for ways to improve your message. I have found many marketing professionals have spent so much time on social media that they have lost focus with their own respective companies. Take time and look at ways to position your company's products/services by looking at the folllowing:
Company Website - Is it a great experience for your clients
Upgrade your services/products - Look to add more value to your current lines
Educate and inform your staff - Many people don't have any idea what their company's marketing position is.
Improve client service - Any changes here will have a huge ROI in the future.
Again, social media is not a waste of time, but it is an overused term and focus
Rethink your position on Social Media
Really look at your return on social media, you might be surprised at the results. Find areas that work and make sure you are taking other actions. Social media should not be your only position when it comes to marketing.
Your Thoughts? How do you plan to use social media? Would be curious as to the type of priority social media is for you with respect to your marketing initiatives.
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