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
Go figure, the social media networks are viable in terms of business not just in advertising, but also in providing another outlet for actually connecting people - like the business owner providing a service to a consumer - other than the old school methodology consisting of phone, in-person, or via impersonal email, Internet, television, and radio marketing.
I am not saying that traditional marketing is dead, outdated, or anything but useful for businesses and consumers wishing to find and distribute useful services. The traditional media corporations are flourishing in today’s market, and TV still does what everyone desires: drives flurries of people to pick up the phone or laptop and call or Google your product.
What is becoming more legitimate is the advocacy of spending a good amount of time as a business that is contributing and active in social media networking, and the sales and increasing bottom lines do not lie, folks.
Social Media has three huge places: #1 is Facebook, #2 is Twitter, and #3 is LinkedIn.
These are the huge social media hubs where businesses can go to really connect with an audience and build not just a brand but a community around their services and then get feedback and interaction - valuable engagement - with clients, friends of clients, and potential future clients that will go to your website, your web profiles on other networks.
Because traditional marketing has lambasted our patience by plastering every street corner with billboards, every TV show with myriad commercials, and every home and office phone number with countless soliciting, it is no surprise that many people not only do not mind being reached out to online in the social networks
(where they can voluntarily choose to play along or not), but prefer it.
Facebook provides a great source of information that is rivaling the Google search engine more and more each day, and many people, of all ages, go there to find things they are looking to learn about.
Learning about something, in this commercial society, can and does lead to a consumer acquiring services that are in some way tied to what they are looking into.
Thus, new content, more blogs, articles, and videos are being projected through 2013 and into the future by businesses that wish to give out free knowledge, blast it via social media, and then connect to anyone that is legitimately interested in their services.
This weeds out many of those window shopping, because most that will go further than retweeting a post on Twitter are probably really interested in what your business has to offer and can then conveniently go through the social network they already love to reach out and purchase this.
It is becoming more and more of a social media universe every day!
by R.J. Huneke
They say who you know is what is important in the business world, but in the online universe there is one litmus test: Google, and its not who you know but how you connect.
Connectivity is officially king. And since Google's search engine comes in at a whopping 80% of total search volume [Search Engine Land], playing up your connection to this giant Internet force to better your SEO (search engine optimization) rankings is simply smart marketing.
Seeing that they have the luxury to make their own rules when they hold Aces backed by Eights (to coin a card phrase), Google moved their locations to a specific Google Local section to somewhat coax and somewhat force users to involve themselves in the new social media network kid on the block (a move Microsoft often makes too, since they also run near 80% of the operating system (OS) on the desktop market). If you want special treatment and a nice looking, highlighted, and easily found business location in Google Maps and the Google search engine, then setting up a Google+ profile, off of Gmail, and a Google+ business page is essential.
Join and become connected with Google. All of these tools are useful, organized, and free, which is more we can say for Windows and Office products, isn't it?
by R.J. Huneke
Are you already on Facebook for personal use? If not, get there, but make a business page, and join us! We're on Twitter too!
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