When it comes to business sensibility, we are often required to determine whether or not the juice is worth the squeeze concerning our expenses. If the hot new advertising campaign we’ve kicked off isn’t getting us any further attention, at what point do we pull the plug and consider it a loss? Is the new $ 200 coffee maker we purchased for the break room encouraging morale or wasting people’s time? Are our social media expenditures simply costing us money or are we actually seeing results?
With any transaction of goods or services, ROI is most certainly expected. As a consumer driven society, we want to be sure we’re getting our money’s worth, especially in terms of successful business dealings. The worst threat to our sanity as human beings is to think we’re being taken across. So, when determining a sensible social media contract for outsourcing, can ROI be considered an attainable goal?
This is a highly contested question in the world of social media, as concern swells around how important a presence can be. Allow me to answer that question quickly and without excessive words; very important. Social media is a way of adding a human element to your branding, and people like human. They like to see the faces of the businesses they frequent, they enjoy your fun fact or quirky anecdotes, and they like to know there’s a human on the other side of the website when they need help with something.
There are many goals to focus on when it comes to social media. Improving your brand awareness, increasing website traffic, and ramping up your exposure are all fantastic examples of attainable goals. These goals are easily measurable with analytics and can therefore prove whether or not the effort of your social media company is working. ROI, however is trickier.
The reason most social media company’s don’t list ROI as a client goal is this; it’s not easily measured from behind the desk. Whether or not your Facebook page is driving people to purchase from you, thus increasing your business, is knowledge that can only be attained by asking your customers what drove them to your location. This means relying on customers for honest answers and feedback.
If social media outreach tactics allow you to gain new customers, then the ROI question is easily answered. During a targeted outreach campaign, if direct contact yields a new client or customer, then your social media efforts are indeed netting a positive in the new business column. At this point, ROI is a sure thing.
Unfortunately, too often, these results go unmeasured and the questions go unasked, making ROI such a dicey dilemma for social media professionals. ROI remains one of the great unknown questions when acquiring a new client. There is no simple answer to the question as to whether or not social media can increase your bottom line or even match what you’re spending.
In terms of whether or not social media is worth the money you’re spending for the services you retain, the short answer is yes. If the firm you’ve hired has their eye on the ball and is willing to be diligent and steadfast in portraying your business on social media platforms, the package is well worth the money. In contrast, if the company you’ve hired is bogged down with personnel changes and personal issues, then this question becomes, ultimately, more challenging. In any event, the risk is often worth the reward.
For some social media professionals, ROI is an attainable goal, as it should be. In a customer service profession like social media management, commitment to the customer should be the number one concern. If the customer is willing to listen to advice and stick to a plan, ROI is absolutely something a social media professional should be able to provide. However, to ensure the maximum return on your investment, a long term plan is probably the best chance at success.
Social media isn’t a sprint, it is a marathon. So, if you’re expecting an immediate return within weeks of starting up a fan page, social media may not be a successful endeavor. The goals a customer sets for their social media must be realistic, and it is the responsibility of the social media manager to assist in the setting of these goals.
In making the decision to outsource social media, discuss the importance of ROI with your management professional. During this discussion, the manager should be able to let you know exactly how realistic your goals are. If your ROI is not something they are willing to consider, move on. ROI is entirely realistic, but it won’t be immediate. Before signing social media contracts, ensure that your goals and the social media company’s goals align; this is the number one concern for a cohesive relationship and will often guarantee a better result.