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What’s the ROI of Social Media?
Ask early retirement blogger Jacob Lund Fisker if you can retire on $2 million dollars and he’ll respond by saying, “PROBABLY NOT!” Change your retirement number to $10 or even $20 million and he’ll respond the same way. Jacob’s rationale is that these are very easy questions to answer for anyone with even a modicum of business and financial expertise.
His reasoning is simple: someone asking these questions is advertising a complete lack of understanding about personal finance, utter laziness, or both! If someone can’t make the minimal effort required to answer a question like this on their own, no amount of money will last them through retirement (so many professional athletes and entertainers have made millions and gone broke that it should be a proverb).
If you ask Gary Vaynerchuk what the ROI is of social media, he’ll respond with, “what’s the ROI of your mother?” I guess you can pull that routine when you’re on stage with bodyguards or when you deal with Fortune 500 executives wearing Brioni suits. At Blue Corona, we work with mostly home service contractors—the kind of guys that actually work for a living. If I said something like that to one of our clients or prospects, there’s a better than 70% chance I’d get my ass kicked!!
That said, I understand where Jacob and Gary are coming from, and I feel a little bit the same way about business owners demanding to know what the ROI is of social media. If you have to ask, you probably shouldn’t be thinking about doing it. You’re either too small, you don’t get it, or both! And stop using ROI (or lack thereof) as an excuse to avoid testing new things that you don’t understand.
Let’s say you own an HVAC and plumbing company. Do you demand to know the ROI before you upgrade from cheesy looking magnets on your trucks to full vehicle wraps? Of course you don’t! You invest in the full wraps because they make your trucks look AWESOME and because you want to create a first-class impression for your business with customers and prospects.
That’s exactly why you should be investing in social media marketing—regardless of the ROI (some of which you can track and quantify—by the way).
Here are a few videos on the topic of social ROI; I hope they broaden your perspective:
Social Media ROI Hypocrisy by David Meerman Scott
What’s the ROI of Social by Gary V
Note: If you’re offended by bad language, skip this video.
Although you wouldn’t know it from the videos above, at Blue Corona, we’ve got a whole bunch of different tools and techniques that allow our clients to track and quantify the results generated by their social media campaigns (if you’d like to learn more, drop us a line). But if you’re demanding to know the ROI of social, you’re probably not ready for it.
As you sit there unconvinced, hemming and hawing about how social media is overrun by broke, time-wasting millennials with ADD, keep in mind that 3 – 5 years ago, most business owners didn’t invest appropriately in SEO for similar reasons—lack of proven ROI. If you jumped in early with SEO, ask yourself if the concerns about social are really that much different than SEO (read: they’re not).
If you were one of the guys that hesitated with SEO—watching smaller competitors outrank you on Google for years before finally deciding to get off the fence, here’s your chance to avoid repeating history.
About The Author: Ben Landers is the President and CEO of Blue Corona, a data-driven, inbound internet marketing company. Submit an inquiry to book Ben to speak at your next conference or event.
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