Return on Investment is a very touchy subject within the marketing world, especially when it comes to social media
I’ve read many articles, blogs, books and views on how to calculate social media’s ROI and apply a tangible number to it. I’m not saying these opinions are wrong for attempting to legitimize ROI with numbers; however I do think, for the most part, they are “missing the boat”.
The marine industry, unlike most others, is one with very personal and close relationships. The real and true value of social media initiatives is in developing and strengthening these relationships between a company/brand and its consumers. Measuring the effectiveness of your efforts should also be different within this industry and it all begins with goals.
Know Your Goals
I’m sure many of you jumped into social media because it was just something that needed to be done, however how many of you actually had a plan of what you wanted to do? How many of you knew what goals you wanted to achieve?
The Answer… Probably not many and that’s okay. Now that you know, set goals of what you’d like to achieve with your efforts whether it be a better relationship with your customers, improving operations or increasing sales in a particular aspect of your business. You’ll also need to evaluate how you’ll determine if you’re achieving your goals.
Look Past the Numbers
One thing is for certain, no matter what industry you’re in, calculating a financial return is not immediately realistic. Instead, the focus should be on measuring the impact a company or brand’s social presence has on its relationship with customers.
How can you do that? One way is by comparing what happens with the audience who engages in social media and what happens with those that don’t. What is the level of improvement when social media is involved? Spending time with these groups and delving into their thinking is one way to see the success or failure of your social media marketing efforts.
Ultimately, people are not on social media to connect with a business or to search for shopping ‘deals.’ People are there to connect with friends and listen to their recommendations for businesses or services they too will be using. Can you truly put a dollar value on memories, laughs or aha moments? Yes, these ‘friends’ might not buy today, but where do you think they’ll return to when that time comes?
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