There are social media metrics, comprehensive reporting programs from Facebook Insights to Google Analytics, and lots of engagement on the networks, but there is only one real way to tell if you are making money.
After the results of a Chief Marketer 2012 Social Marketing Survey was released recently, this Chief Marketing Officer took on the single biggest obstacle that marketers were up in arms about: judging the ROI (return on investment) for social media.
How do we unlock the magic that reveals clear and telling ROI in the green?
You have to go back to traditional marketing and sales methods. The one rule to rule them all is this: do not market on social media networks without having a tangible way to track sales leads and conversions.
Yes, this can be hard for the small business owner that does not have the money to purchase and monitor dozens of 800 phone numbers and call centers. But consider this: as long as you have a cell phone or more than one phone line, you can at least use a Google Voice account [video below] to make a unique phone number for free and link it to one of your lines and track when this unique # is used for a social media exclusive marketing campaign.
If every phone number on your Facebook ads, pages, and posts goes back to a number you do not use for anything else, then you can see exactly how many people called about your services or products from Facebook.
If you only want to see the benefits of your entire online platform, then put the unique phone number on the web site, the LinkedIn account page, the Twitter page, and anywhere else you market digitally.
Another way to track closely your ROI for social media networks is to use coupons and giveaways (there are a number of free ones out there) that are exclusive to each place that you put it. Look and see who loves the 15% off and if they got an email coupon, or a Pinterest coupon.
In this CMO’s opinion you should not be spending time and money (and time is money) marketing in social networks if there is not a tangible way to discern how much profit the digital networks generated.
By R.J. Huneke
There was once a man who made his own fortune and took his brains, his thirst to create, and his unquenchable drive and changed the world in extraordinary ways, and his life and influences are portrayed in brief in Steve Jobs: One Last Thing.
In just 56 minutes the legend is explored in numerous viewpoints, including a lot of interview footage from those who worked with Jobs and were his friends. Intimate details of his life (we're talking about philosphical points and mannerisms here people) are passionately explored by those that knew the man about as well as anyone could know him. There is the emotional interview after Mr. Jobs announced his having cancer and sat down with longtime rival and friend Bill Gates and many early photos and footage of Apple in its infancy, of Silicon Valley and the esteemed garage where Woz and Jobs combined to redefine the staple of the computer keyboard where it all began.
This is an extremely inspiring and surprisingly candid look into the life - for better and worse - of Steve Jobs, and it pays a great amount of respect to the one and only pioneer.
See how many stars author R.J. Huneke gives this film on Examiner here.
Bill Gates, 16. November 2004 at IT-Forum in Copenhagen
Innovation of one's own is key; there is a great lesson to be learned from a short Bill Gates quote that urges business people to not compare themselves to others.
The quote from Mr. Gates is this: "Don't COMPARE yourself with anyone in this world. If you do so, you are . . . INSULTING yourself!"
I love this for a number of reasons that I think are applicable in today's business world.
Firstly, trying to emulate competitors and colleagues for mimicking sake is generally poor practice. That is not to say that studying the successful endeavors of industry leaders and then trying to cut out what you think is their weak points while improving upon many of the high points that you like is also a bad practice, because it is a great way to help improve yourself and your business model.
The gist of what Gates hints at is that you really need to look to yourself, as you are valuable and unique for your own reasons, and you can make your own mark.
Gates spent most of his life being tied to and compared ruthlessly with the ups and downs of Steve Jobs in the computer world, i.e. Apple Vs. Microsoft, business-wise and product-wise. Ultimately Gates seems to not care all that much about any comparison to himself, because he considers his own work too valuable, and with his success you cannot deny he is on to something there.
If you make the sky the limit, because that is what everyone else does, then you've just limited and insulted yourself. Make your own way without limits.
By R.J. Huneke
As SINC Sites are public computing labs with software tools, a knowledge base if you will, the SYNC Blog is a public house of educational information providing intrinsic insight into tech, media, and business.