The Resident Connection, Written Posts

The ROI of Social Media

6 Comments 22 July 2011

It’s super easy today to click “Like”, accept a connection, follow someone, or now put someone in a circle, but that’s just scratching the surface.  It’s those next steps that really begin to make connections.  I was listening to a Gary Vaynerchuk keynote presentation last night and a statement he made really stuck with me.  I’ll paraphrase a bit, “with social media marketing it’s not about the presentation, it’s about being a part of the cocktail party.”

As marketers, we’ve become comfortable with the idea of a campaign that has a beginning and an end.  We build up to it, run it, and then celebrate the spike in activity.  It’s been this way for years and years, and we’re comfortable pushing messages at people expecting a certain level of return, leads, sales, etc.  But for some reason, when people look at social media for business it’s like we’re dogs tilting our heads striving to understand what the other person is saying.  Why is this?  Why isn’t a social strategy more clearly understood for business?

I think it’s because we’re looking through the lens with our head tilted.  We’re looking through the lens of “status quo” and “that’s the way we’ve always done it” (which is exactly the lens we should be looking through).  However, it’s the perspective that’s off.  We’re not thinking about why it’s just as important to connect with everyday customers as it is to go play golf with a banker.  Why it’s just as important to connect with everyday customers as it is to go out to a steak dinner with a client.  Why it’s just as important to connect with an everyday customer as it is to meet up with friends.  Why it’s just as important to connect with an everyday customer as it is to give your mother a birthday card.

The “status quo” and “way we’ve always done it” with networking for big business, with our friends, and with our family is exactly what social media can help you do for your everyday customers.  And the beauty of social media is that it helps you scale those efforts.  It can be a small email, a like on Facebook, or maybe even a retweet that helps connect you more personally to your customers.  In the same fashion you can connect early with prospects and make a connection that goes deeper than a search online or handing them a brochure.

One to one connections make a difference.  We’ve been doing it for years for big business, to make friends, and to stay in touch with loved ones.  Today, social media allows us to deliver that extra connection online for all of the people important to us, including everyday customers.

This week Duncan Alney and I had a chance to strengthen an online connection.  We’ve admired what Justin Dunckel and his team at Paragon Properties have been doing in social with the help of Eric Brown and his team at The Urbane Way.  What’s unique about social media today is that unlike meeting at an actual cocktail party for the first time, we meet digitally.  But that digital snapshot and connection can build a bond that easily transfers to a great in-person connection.  It was great to learn more about what Paragon has been doing, and to share stories about J.C. Hart and Firebelly.

What’s the ROI in that?  Priceless.  People inspire people.  That’s my social media ROI, and I believe it applies to businesses.  Just as it does to individuals in many ways.

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