Does Social Media Pay? – 32 Perspectives on ROI

You may be one of the many businesses that has jumped on the social media bandwagon as a way to cost-effectively boost your exposure in the online market.  But where are businesses getting the most bang for their buck?  We were curious to know what has been working, and what has not when it comes to social media, and last week asked –

More and more businesses are implementing social media into their marketing repertoire to try to maintain the competitive cutting edge.  But does the investment really pay off?

If you regularly use social media for your business,where do you get your biggest ROI, and why?



It would seem that most businesses ARE seeing a return on their investment, enough to speak about here and invest a lot of time to maintain.  I think the biggest wild-card with social media is putting your efforts into the networks where your target customers congregate.  To do otherwise, would be a complete waste of time.

I hope that you get some creative ideas on how you can better reach your target audience from the experiences of our wonderful panel this week, to whom I offer my sincere thanks! Openly sharing your expertise and experiences is a huge asset to this blog and the readership. I wish you all a wonderful week and hope to see you here again.

If you would like to contribute to this week’s question, be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of this post to find out how you can get involved.  We’d love to have you share your expertise!

Enjoy!

1. Social Bang For Your Buck?

We are an app company (SMARTYSHORTZ) that makes our own apps, as well as for other companies, and as everyone knows there is little marketing that can be done and little budget when you are offering a $1.99 product that cost $$$ to make! Social media has the largest ROI by default and of the social media market Twitter has proven our strongest.

Tweeting about press releases, editorials, keeping people up to date with your latest updates/releases etc. keeps followers, as well as spreading the word, which leads to someone else reading the post on their wall: maybe a teacher or parent that didn’t know our kind of apps for classrooms, professors and children were out there!

Thanks to Jill Mikols Etesse of SmartyShortz LLC

2. Tweeting To Success

I have found social media marketing to be very useful for cost-effectively spreading the word about my business and increasing brand awareness. I think social media marketing is important for several reasons: it gives you a competitive edge by enabling you to communicate with potential and existing customers, it enables you to ask for feedback through interactive channels and furthermore allows for customer engagement.

My best tip is to not obsess over sales when using social media marketing, as this will put potential customers off. Instead, focus on building relations with potential and existing customers, and show them that you are an innovative brand that cares for its customers/clients — thus when they need your product or service they’ll turn to you.

Thanks to Victoria Olubi of My Curls

3. To Maximize Monetization Possibilities, Make Your Website Social

I have profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These sites have helped me to establish my expertise, get traffic to my website, and generate mentions in media. The best social media tool that I’ve used, however, is SBI’s C2, which adds social features to an SBI website. C2 gives visitors a way to interact, hence providing a reason for them to return again and again. The benefit, of course, is that you own the traffic and control the monetization possibilities. I used SBI to develop my website and highly recommend C2. For more info on C2 hit http://2.sitesell.com/WebmasterSales.html.

Thanks to Andrew Neary of Organizing Toronto

4. Social Mis-Fits

There are so many voices clamoring to be heard in cyberspace that it’s difficult to break through the electronic bedlam. On the other hand, though, it only takes one good connection to have the social “fit” a perfect one.

To prevent mis-fits, I try to limit the amount of time I spend in this e-endeavor. But I definitely am committing a small portion of my time each day to making these social and business encounters profitable.

Thanks to Dr. Marlene Caroselli

5. Social Media ROI

It depends on your industry. For instance, one of my clients is an attorney, who is a professional trustee for estates. Facebook is not going to be his best route and he would see little to no ROI. Twitter and LinkedIn would position him as an expert in his field and allow him to connect with strategic alliances that may be able to refer business to him.

So my short answer would be-it depends on who your ideal and core clientele is.

Thanks to Melissa Casserly

6. It’s More Than Broadcasting – The Relationships Are Priceless

I have had some great success with social media. I’m on many platforms — http://www.SocialWithSteph.com, and I have been able to land consulting contracts, product sales, media interviews, blog mentions, and new relationships with people who I’m partnering with on new projects or interviewing in my teleseminar series.

The best way to look at it is networking on steroids! The biggest advantage I have had with social media tools is my ability to meet and interact with people I never would have met otherwise. In fact, Shannon and I met via Twitter. Taking the conversation offline grows the relationship. Emails and phone calls allow for deeper connections than 140 characters on Twitter will allow. Work it & you’ll see the rewards.

Thanks to Stephanie LH Calahan of Calahan Solutions, Inc.

7. Do It Right Build On Your Brand

Social media must be used to complement other methods of marketing and advertising without necessarily interfering with them. The benefits can be tremendous, but must be used in the most efficient way possible, because not every business has the time and money. It provides an outlet for displaying who you are and what your business offers.

It is essential to find the most smart ways of generating the right kind of interest to build on. Doing it right will help you build on your brand. I find Twitter and LinkedIn among the best. They both help me create the needed awareness of my services and products to both customers and other businesses, and help evaluate their effectives. You can always use Google Analytics to measure the resultant traffic. Keep evaluating each medium’s effectiveness.

Thanks to Victor Kwegyir of VIKE INVEST (UK) LTD

8. Keeping Up With Social Media

I’ve seen the biggest results from using social media to keep up to date with my network. I have clients, partners and friends in the far-flung corners of the world – but social media brings everyone together into one centralized party. I can keep in touch, keep up with what they’re doing and keep those relationships going, easily.

And I don’t have to have plane tickets or get on the phone to do it – so even if I’m leaving messages for my British clients in the middle of their night, that’s fine!

Thanks to Erin Ferree of BrandStyle Design

9. ROR Is The New ROI

I am a social media strategist, so I eat, drink and breathe social media. ROI for social media is really ROR, return on reputation. Are you getting the clicks? the sales? the brand awareness? the business connections? Do you know what people are saying about your brand? Social media is about connecting to people and being a part of the conversation. Are people talking with you or about you, and what are they saying? Social media delivers results as long as you know what you want to achieve. It is the key to the modern business model, but you need to have a strategy and do it right. Be clear about your deliverables and your goals and you will get results.

Thanks to Lauren MacEwen of SM Cubed Consulting

10. Studying The Face

My biggest ROI is in studying the ever-changing face of Facebook usage, and then leveraging that knowledge to help clients. It is a great way to track trends and innovate new ideas to positively impact their businesses. Facebook, and social media, in general, is a great place to see what is happening in your field, in related fields, with your friends and acquaintances. It shows you how people are using new technology to enhance their lives, their businesses or customer experiences. A decade ago this information would have taken a great deal of resources to acquire, and incurred an equally high price tag. Now, it is easily accessible. The cost — just pay attention, watch & learn.

Thanks to Lori Webb of Indspark!

11. Short Amount Of Time – Get A Huge “Bang For Your Buck”

I post my newsletter and events on twitter, Facebook, Addthis and Stumbleupon for added exposure, and to offer value while keeping my name visible. Many of my activities are Googleable. I use the Green Wave system. And as a small business owner, your investment is in time, not money, so there’s no question that it pays off. This newsletter contains active links for sharing to Facebook, Addthis and Stumbleupon, plus almost all the social media sites, effortlessly.

If you go with Facebook, you reach both business and social connections, can see their face or logo, and each time you post a message it connects the message or event with you. As you share, the information is spread either verbally or inadvertently online through your connections — “friends.”

Thanks to Gayle Naftaly of Access.office

12. Facebook Works!

I couldn’t build my two businesses without Facebook. Particularly because I reach out to women, who are strongly attracted to Facebook and other online endeavours (blogging, etc.). These platforms allow me to touch a vastly larger group that I could otherwise. Plus, as long as I’m using my time wisely, it’s super-affordable.

Best ROI? Gaining a strong following that trusts me, my offerings, and spreads the word to others.

Thanks to Lynn Baldwin-Rhoades of Power Chicks International

13. Create An Interactive Community

The investment does pay off when you use social media, not just to send out news about your company, but to create an interactive community of people who are invested in your product. We’re Facebook friends and tweet with athletes around the globe who use our products. For example, David Hidalgo just sent us a photo of him on the award podium after placing in a major tournament, while showcasing our impact pads – no request needed!

Thanks to Lily Wray of G-Form

14. Social Media Hasn’t Paid Off In The Slightest

I’ve found it to be nothing more than a place to keyboard-clack the day away. Very few, if any, business prospects there. And I’m not the only one. Here’s a recent study that reports the same thing: http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007956

What has worked for me is picking up the phone. Yes, the telephone. That old school thing with the ring. I set aside an hour of each business day for cold calling, warm calling, and keep-in-touch calling.

Thanks to Martha Retallick of Western Sky Communications

15. Go Make It Happen

Two years ago, in between 3 pregnancies and child births in a row, I started doing online marketing (mostly via social media and a blog) for my husband’s video production company in Israel. Ten months ago, 2 out of 3 of the clients who bankrolled our move to the US had found us online. I realized that it worked, so I began managing the online presences of other companies, and teaching online marketing as well.

More and more, I come across the main difference between what I do and what other social media companies do: I actively reach out to prospective clients; I don’t just get onto social media and sit there passively expecting something to happen. No one just comes online and finds a brand; the brand has to find them.

I have a background in cold calling sales, and the same basics apply. If you build it, they won’t necessarily come. There’s a lot of work that goes into reaching out, but it’s essentially just relationship-building, with real humans, via digital means. This means not just being on the main three social sites, but being on all small sites too — blogging to showcase your expertise, directing traffic to the blog through means such as email marketing, social bookmarking, and setting up back links wherever possible. It also means being fun, light and informative and NOT salesy in the content you put out. This is a lot more work than it seems, and it’s quite specialized. So if you’re paying someone to do it for you, don’t argue about the price. In the end, you’ll always get what you pay for.

Thanks to Margelit Hoffman of Hoffman Productions

16. Leverage Your Resources

From a social media perspective, we have found the best return comes from leveraging those for whom the social media is their business (or at least a part of it). Specifically, we target bloggers and others who already have an audience that we want to reach. There are two benefits to this approach:
One, it reduces or eliminates the acquisition costs for the recipients of the messages.
Two, it eliminates the need to generate “something to talk about” on a frequent basis.

Thanks to Mike Bucci of K & M Of VA Inc.

17. Enhance Your Online Visability

Businesses are using social media like never before. The marketing landscape is dramatically changing toward social media versus traditional (and costly) marketing tactics. The social media “bubble” popped when businesses started to cut back on spending; it is free, and evolved at the perfect time! For example, PepsiCo. did not buy a $3 million Super Bowl XLV ad this year, instead, they used Facebook and Twitter to announce their promotions.

My best tip is this: Use social media as a vehicle to enhance your online visibility. Move away from costly marketing tactics and start to implement social media over a time-frame to introduce new products and create brand-loyalty. The reason for this is that instead of spending millions of dollars on mass media advertisements, build a strong follower base, announce your new products or promotions and reap the benefits.

If you’re a small business with a small budget, and want to become recognized, this is perfect. If you’re a large organization or corporation, then use a 70% traditional / 30% social media marketing at first. We, in the industry, truly believe (and we are seeing now more than ever) that social media is the new marketing.

Thanks to Kenneth Wisnefski of TopSEOs.com

18. The Power Of Twitter

We are just starting to get into the thick of it (using Social Media as a marketing tool)! I am the person regularly Tweeting and Facebooking at the moment, and will soon be accustomed to doing more on the front of the Social Media wave that everyone is riding.

I would say we get have gotten our biggest ROI (because tweeting is free, right?!) from my twittering. I maintain a friendly relationship with all our followers, offering advice and sharing tips – and also offering specials now and then. Many times we have had customers come in to take advantage of the tweet-only specials. I even recently tweeted that the Riverrock Casino made a SUPERB burger in their Curve Lounge with our certified organic dry aged rib eye beef. The tweet was sent out and 20 minutes later our rep got a call from the manager there that someone saw my tweet, came in and ordered the burger! The power of Twitter continues to amaze me!

Thanks to Rita Sheloff of Hills Food

19. LinkedIn And A Blog

Two social media resources that have brought me corporate clients, as well as individual clients, are LinkedIn and my blog – http://www.lifestagingblog.com. You want to have a consistent digital footprint. LinkedIn is the perfect place to start doing that, from both a personal and a professional perspective. While my LinkedIn profile introduces my services, my blog seals the deal. While LinkedIn is my cyber-executive summary, my blog is an extended executive bio. It establishes me as an industry expert. And then there’s Twitter. Twitter reinforces my industry expertise…and it’s fun.

Thanks to Victoria Krayna of Life-Staging By Victoria

20. BE HUMAN. PLEASE

Too many brands are obsessed with applying traditional notions of ROI to social media. So naturally, they treat social like a traditional one-way tactic, pushing out all the promotional flotsam and jetsam they can fit into 140 characters. Not only is it annoying. It’s doomed to fail.

Treat audiences like people – not message receptacles. Engage conversationally. Sure, talk about the brand, but go off script – and off topic – every once in a while. It adds texture to the dialogue and makes the relationship feel more genuine. I’ve gotten new business from people who’ve never seen my work, but enjoy what I have to say and appreciate my perspective.

Thanks to Matthew McDermott of ADG Creative

21. Be Engaged

When I really started building my business about 2 years ago, I decided to use social media in a consistent manner for building my network and marketing. I use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn primarily. My tips are:
– be engaged in the conversations (this doesn’t have to be an hour a day, but skim what’s out there and engage where appropriate.)
– post a lot of valuable information.
– see what others are looking for, and see if you can connect them.

My first radio interview was booked by my response to a twitter posting. I posted the interview recording on my other sites, and soon I had other speaking engagements and more clients from those engagements. It works.

Thanks to Lynn Zettler of LifeAction Coaching, Inc.

22. Engage People In Your Industry

We use social media to reach a potential audience, to connect with editors and industry experts – we even hired one of our employees based on a connection we made on Twitter! Whether through @ replies and hashtags on Twitter, or writing on Facebook walls, we are always working to connect and engage with people. Social media gives us the tools to connect with virtually anyone!

Thanks to Tory Patrick of Vantage Communications

23. The Importance Of Follow-Up

It is important to follow-up immediately with any prospective social media contact. If you are prepared to send the invitation at the time you are talking with them, they are more likely to accept. If you provide them a reason to accept it as well, such as “retweeting” their post before the invitation, it shows them that there will be value to accepting your invitation – so be prepared. This means be ready to show value and provide the connection opportunity as soon as possible. And by giving them an opportunity to review your online presence, it enhances their familiarity with you and begins to develop trust, which is key in sales and relationships.

Thanks to Antoine Loup of Antoine Loup

24. How Social Media Pays Off

The updates, teasers and reminders Webbed Marketing posts on our social networks about our monthly webinars/events really pays off for us. Using social media to update our audience, and interact, increases registration for our events and webinars. This, in turn, helps position Webbed Marketing as a thought leader in the industry. This reputation allows us to maintain clients we’ve had for years, and gain new business on a regular basis.

Thanks to Rebecca Roebuck of Webbed Marketing

25. Twitter To Maximize Visability

We regularly make use of social media in maximizing our clients’ visibility on the web and ramping their conversion rates. We’ve found that the highest ROI for our clients, when it comes to social media, typically involves Twitter. Tweets advertising timely and limited-time ‘insider’ pricing specials — tweeted no more than once a week — have proven quite effective (and profitable!)

Thanks to Katherine Mulherin of Marketing Carolina

26. Increase Your Web Traffic

Though we’ve experienced a 10-15% increase in public cooking class sales on days when we post a special offer to Facebook or Twitter, the biggest ROI from social media is the tremendous web traffic we generate from it. We’ve experienced 3x our average daily traffic on days when we post a contest or fun quiz to social media sites. This is so important because we get 85% of our new corporate team building business from internet searches, and high web traffic helps us secure the top organic search spots. Not to mention, we are able to see in Google Analytics that once those visitors reach our site, they spend some time there, and we get twice as many event proposal requests than on an average day. These corporate/private events are our bread and butter.

Thanks to Crissy Gershey of Parties That Cook

27. Social Media Pay Off

Social Media makes the playing field more even, between small and large businesses. SM allows you to cost effectively engage your audience. If you are not getting the results you want, SM gives you the opportunity to reinvent yourself on a regular basis. The payoff is the playoff. You get an opportunity to speak directly to your audience daily.

Thanks to Derrick Hayes of WOE Enterprises

28. Facebook Scores Big!

Our online newspaper uses Facebook and Twitter to drive readers back to our news stories online. Facebook accounts for 1/3 of our traffic to our website stories. The other 1/3 comes from google/google news search, and the remainder keep coming back to our site. (There are a few other incoming links, twitter, etc, but nothing as large as an entire third of our traffic.)

Thanks to Jen Watkins of St. George News

29. Is Social Media Sucking Your Time And Energy?

Let’s face it, it’s easy to let social media zap your precious time. In fact, here are the top two things I hear from my social media strategy clients:
(1) Does it really produce results?
(2) How can I effectively use social media without it sucking up half my day?

My answer? Yes.. with the right STRATEGY, social media can produce amazing results and be effective in a short amount of time each day. Before a publisher picked up my book, I had no budget to market the self-publish version of “Girlfriends 2.0,” so I turned to social media. With a strategy in place, I ended up selling more copies in just the first month than most first-time authors ever sell. Also, Twitter is how I originally connected with the fabulous Tory Johnson, and ended up on the national Spark and Hustle tour. But don’t take my word for it! I just talked with a client who just closed a $10,000 deal through a Facebook contact.

Social media will NOT equal dollars if you’re just posting willy nilly, and also it doesn’t “make” relationships but it can open doors. Social Media Tip: For some of my clients, I recommend doing tips Monday through Friday that give value for their customers. For instance, for a staffing company that I work with, I suggested they do a tip a day on the “Do’s and Don’ts of Getting a Job”. That gives their clients valuable information daily, and it sets them up as an expert in their field.

But let’s face it… sometimes we’re creative and sometimes we are not. So if you plan to do tips each week…. sit down four times a year and pound out a whole list. Then you can schedule each one to post during that quarter. But remember… be ready after each post to take questions or answer potential customers.

Thanks to Cindy Morrison of CWM Media

30. Advantages, ROI, And #1 Tip

An effective social media strategy pays off with increased traffic on your website, improved brand awareness and more business relationships overall. As you participate on social media platforms and position yourself as a thought leader, this prompts interested parties to click on your profile and then visit your website. Social media marketing levels the playing field for small businesses, because they are able to compete with larger businesses in building their brand and acquiring new prospects through these free tools.

As far as ROI, work back from your ideal customer and determine which social media platforms they will most likely participate on, and if they will be in the right mindset to be intrigued by your product or service. At the very least, participation in social media helps with SEO, allowing your company to become more prominent on search engines.

My best tip is to steer clear of self-promotion; instead, work on sharing educational information that your target audience would be interested in learning more about.
You truly need to give 25% of your knowledge away for free. By sharing some of your expertise, your target audience will view you as a trusted resource worthy of engaging with.

Educational information will encourage followers to participate in the discussions and will keep them coming back to your social media accounts or website to learn more. Your website and social media will be viewed as resource centers by your target audience. Educational information also has a tendency to spread faster and further online than a sales pitch.

Thanks to Jeremy Durant of Bop Design

31. Dual Strategy Pays Off

Over 30% of the traffic to our blog comes from Facebook alone, and a growing number of our bookings are coming from our blog as opposed to traditional avenues. We consider our blog to be a huge part of our social media strategy, and our numbers are starting to show it (inquiries and bookings.) We are able to show our customers what we do, while at the same time presenting a very positive and friendly image of ourselves.

Both are relatively cheap; Facebook is free and a blog website, once set up, costs very little to maintain. The real cost of these avenues is time. But while time is an even more precious resource than money, the value we get out of the output is of a much higher value than other methods we have available, such as bridal shows, local print advertising, and targeted web advertising. The reasoning behind this is it enables us to show our personality and our work we do as a company, and creates a much stronger bond with clients.

Thanks to Trevor Schneck of Bar None Weddings

32. Educate People With Social Media

I have received my best ROI from regularly posting good, concise and clear information that educates people. A combination of Twittering, Facebook updates and blogging on a local Albuquerque (NM) site, for a non-profit client’s charitable event, brought in double the amount of needed pledges to participate. Some of the individuals who contributed were people I didn’t even know. Becoming a guest blogger for Toilet Paper Entrepreneur resulted in a prospect inquiry within one month (or less) of my initial posting.

Thanks to Jane Blume of Desert Sky Communications


Thanks so much again to all our wonderful contributors for your valuable suggestions this week!  We hope to hear from you again.

This week’s question is –

Everyone has a set of parameters they use to gauge success in their business, including things like social media metrics, number of sales, profit versus loss, and customer reach. For some, these external measures determine their worth as a company. For others, achievement is defined by something more than numbers. How do you define success in your business?

Why should I join the discussion?

Because this online forum is a great place for us to exchange ideas, learn from each other and network. My goal is to unite successful women entrepreneurs to share our insights and solutions to the challenges we most commonly face in our businesses.

How do I get involved?


Every Monday I will post a new Question of the Week. This is a great opportunity for you to bring your expertise to the table. Using the link below, please submit a one paragraph response before the deadline, and the following week I will share our community responses on my blog.

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR RESPONSE

I look forward to your response to this week’s question! If you have any questions you know where to find me. Have a great week!

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