Remember when you were a kid, you ran out the door and then heard your Mother calling, where are you going? That’s what many local businesses are doing with their customers today. If you are the one calling, it’s most likely too late because your customers are off looking for what you didn’t have to keep them around the supper table. In this picture you are behind them calling out not in front of them engaging and sharing, drawing them in building a relationship, a relationship that builds loyalty and increased return on Investments. For many this sounds like way too much work and don’t have time for this new way of doing business. This new way is happening and you will have no choice, this new way is called Social Media, resistance is futile, you will be assimulated.
Businesses today will have to figure out how to integrate multiple Social Media Networks into there web presence, their marketing strategy and above all incorporate it into the business plan as a another way of generating a ROI. Keep in mind that Social Media is not the Messiah, it is one of many tools to use to build a stronger more viable business. Reaching out to millions of consumers who thrive online around the clock requires an investment, a different type of thinking and some courage too. Many business are still wedded to a traditional marketing approach, based on TV, radio and print ads, Social Media seems harder to understand.
The biggest change taking place, or the shift as I see it, there is no gap between the CEO and customer. They now talk directly to each other, there’s no need for the middleman. Support costs are dropping, some businesses are using these Social Mediums to reach customers and save large dollars in doing so. Take Comcast as an example, for more than a year Comcast has pioneered the use of Twitter to speak directly to it’s customers. It’s Twitter page @comcastcares has 28,000+ followers. Software maker Sage North America, to cite another example, routinely receives instant feedback from hundreds of people within an hour on specific products and services. Another example is in sales, those who visit MyFICO’s community website are spending 41% more than other customers!
Businesses don’t think in terms of inbound marketing, they are very good at outbound marketing. Outbound Marketing is only half the equation in today’s new market place. A great resource to learn about Inbound Marketing is Chris Brogan & Justin Levy’s Inbound Marketing Summit.
There are multiple shifts taking place but increasingly, consumers don’t search for products and services anymore. Rather, services come to their attention via social media networks like Twitter. So if you are wondering where your customers are going, look to the Social Networks a plenty, don’t believe me, here is another example of a National pizza chain, Papa John’s added 148,000 fans on Nov. 17, 2008 through a guerrilla marketing campaign on Facebook. It offered a free medium pizza to anyone who signed up to be its fan on Facebook. The promotion gained it thousands of customers and drove its Web traffic up 253%. It now has more than 300,000 fans and hopes to top 1 million by the end of this year.
I could list many, many more examples of how businesses are winning and using Social Media to enhance existing marketing efforts. When was the last time traditional marketing campaigns garnered such ROI’s as some of these businesses are experiencing in today’s new social environments? Your customers are in these social networks and you had better be there to.
Now you know where your customers are going, the question is….are you going ahead of them?
The topic of ROI is not a new one but it remains to be a stumbling block for most in the Social Media Marketing field. The problem isn’t that an ROI can’t be derived, the challenge is, most are using old ways & thinking to get to that ROI place in an environment that requires you to think differently. Using old practices does not help you get there because the rules have shifted yet once again.
I got into it with a few people on Twitter over the weekend, @CreativeWisdom @kriscolvin, @mackcollier, @thebrandbuilder and @virtualcfo. We bantered back and forth sharing our views, recognizing we could get there with similar but slightly different metrics. My conversation started with Kris & Mack, we actually started with the Quantity vs Quality of Twitter Followers topic and then we moved onto the ROI question. Then Olivier jumped in along with Leah & Scot. There is a distinct difference between ROI & Impact according to Olivier Blanchard (@thebrandbuilder), his definition is interesting and reasonable I think. He states, eyeballs are not ROI, Impact is not ROI, ROI can’t be calculated with an equation. In one of Olivier’s video’s I was able to relate to him because of my 15 years in Radio & Television, he uses F.R.Y. (Frequency, Reach, Yield) as a way to get to an ROI.
Scot Justice made this statement, “You can capture cost of Social Media by implementing a procedure where every prospect is asked about a blog then Calculate SM$ per impression then ROI”. That is an old school way of tracking and has some merit, we used a similar system in Radio to track campaigns, I would like to hear Kris & Olivier’s perspective on his theory. Talk about a hot topic with some very talented and passionate people, this would make a great panel on Owen Greaves LIVE! (I’m working on it).
I do recommend you visit each one’s website or Blog and see what they are doing and how they are doing it, contact them and ask the questions, I’ve listed them for you:
2.) Kris Colvin
3.) Scot Justice
4.) Mack Collier
5.) Leah Dossey
No they all aren’t Marketers in the traditional form but they do need to understand how obtain a form of ROI. There are many that claim Social Media Expert Status, many think they have a clear understanding of what an ROI is, in my opinion they aren’t and they don’t get ROI.
I’m certain this topic will never really go away because many will have an opinion, many will claim they have the secret formula, the list that do is very, very short. I love this kind of dialogue so I’ll keep bringing it.