Originally posted by Social Media Contractors

I hold the flag of grouchy old business owner “guy” at SMC.

I am the one who is usually first to ask; “Why would I care about that?” Or “What does it matter, I don’t give a  #$&$^?” and always “What is the ROI?” Typically I say it with much more colorful language. I am this way because I don’t really care about most of the crap that is out there on social media.

Yes, social media is my business and yes I said most of the content on social media is crap. I truly believe this. The social media space is so noisy with cute kittens and dance contests, most “Old Guys” can’t imagine there is any ROI for a traditional business. Personally, I do care about my business, the research I am doing at the time, my family, and few other things, but I really don’t care about much of what is “trending” on most social media platforms.

However, this doesn’t mean that social media isn’t an effective tool to reach a curmudgeon like me. The ROI in social media comes from focus, and it has to originate from the business’ strategy and goals. If a business hands over the keys of the social media to an intern, or another young person who “Knows” social media (principally because they’re the youngest person in the room), they are likely screwed before they even start.  Addressing the social media opportunity in such a half-assed manner will prove that social media is nothing but a waste of time and not good for your business.

However, if you start with a strategy–

  1. Who are you trying to get in front of?
  2. What matters to them?
  3. Where can you find them?

–your likelihood of success will grow exponentially. Here is a link to a download of our free strategy template.

Once you have a strategy, you have a realistic plan for meeting your goals; that plan allows you to focus on ROI.  

Cute kittens have no ROI and are annoying. Hiring more talented people to fill the jobs that you are having challenges filling– that is ROI.  Once you understand the real cost of having that position vacant, you can start to determine the ROI of a social media effort to attract talent.

If your goals are to generate more quality leads, determine the cost of aquisistion for your leads. How much is a new customer worth? How much is an ideal customer worth? Again, having a dance contest will not provide any ROI.  Once you determine what will (for example, content that helps customers solve a real problem)  you can begin to generate ROI.

One additional shift in thinking is necessary when considering the ROI of social media. As you create and publish high-quality content, it will live on the internet forever. It will work for you today, tomorrow, and well into the future. This works the same with the networks of followers you build and the people you engage with. If you only have a small network of followers, but they are the right people and they care about what you are providing, you are winning and becoming a real resource to them. This content and these relationships are not like traditional advertising where you are renting a chance to get in front of a TV, radio, or billboard audience.  You own the relationships with these people, and you own the content that helps them.  And the benefits of owning these relationships and this content can continue far into the future.

So in a land of Kardashians and Kitten Contests there is actually ROI for Business in Social Media, provided you have specific goals, develop a strategy and implement with rigor. From the perspective of an and old guy curmudgeon, “OK, I can see the ROI.  Now . . . Who was responsible for making coffee this morning?”

Kris Kluver is Founder of SMC and really has a soft spot for kittens. 

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