So…What’s the ROI?

This was originally posted on the Online Marketing Institute blog. Join OMI this September at the Digital Marketing Strategy Summit, and learn the latest strategies and tactics for digital marketing success. See Agenda.

Heard that question before? I’d be surprised if you haven’t. There’s been a lot of buzz about social media ROI of late. Attend a marketing conference or read a blog post and you’ll find some great advice on how to measure the ROI.

For example, one way to measure ROI is to treat Facebook likes, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections and Group subscriber like an email list.

Using your web analytics to measure referring site visits from a social profile is another obvious example. Google Analytics has recently added features that give better insight into the role that social platforms play in driving traffic to your site.

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CRM tools like Salesforce.com and Sugar CRM also have literature that speaks to tracking and ROI. There’s real value in that, but this post is not intended to be a “how to” of how to measure social media ROI.

So...What’s the ROI? image question woman XSmall 150x1502There is some good advice out there and much of it is valid. You should seek to understand the value of your marketing efforts.  However, if you’re obsessed with assigning a hard dollar value to every tweet, post, survey, +, pin, or share, you’re going to spend a lot of valuable energy putting way too much thought into it. Here are a few food for thought questions when pondering the social media ROI question:

What’s the ROI of:

  • answering the phone when it rings?
  • talking to a customer or a prospect?
  • answering a support email?
  • taking a client golfing or boating?
  • buying lunch for your employees
  • sending people to a conference?
  • exhibiting at a conference?
  • renovating your lobby?
  • keep your restrooms clean?
  • having a company picnic?
  • a billboard, radio, trade pub, or TV ad?
  • a company picnic?
  • keeping your sidewalk shoveled?

I could go on. Seriously, I could go on and make this a very long post, but instead I’ll leave you with this thought: Every business owner knows that there are certain things that you just have to do. They term it as “part of the cost of being in business.” I’m not trying to say that social media should be thought of only in these terms, but…Why do you keep your sidewalk clear of snow in the winter? Simple – so that customers can get to you. So then, why should you put your brand out there on Facebook?

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