Many companies have inactive or dormant social media accounts. Sometimes one or two social media channels are so successful, the others are sidelined. This is fine, since it is likely that they are operating in a niche where their audience or network has a clear preference for a particular medium.
A professional photographer might find that people love their Pinterest or Instagram accounts, but ignore their Twitter or LinkedIn. This is fine, focusing on what the audience wants makes complete sense.
This article is not directed towards these companies. This article is for those who have set up social media accounts, that all lie dormant with no posts or followers. This is the worst scenario, worse than having no social media accounts at all.
That might sound odd, that making the effort to set up the accounts is worse than making no effort at all. The reason is in relation to new visitors who don’t know you. If new people visit your empty and lifeless social media account, they will see that there is a lack of interest from your customers. This also shows a lack of effort on your part.
They see something negative whereas if there were no social media accounts, they would have clicked somewhere else.
So, we need to either make some effort, or ignore social media.
The problem in ignoring social media is that people are spending more and more time on it. Each new generation is spending increasing amounts of time on their choice of social media channels. In fact, this applies to people of all ages.
By not having a social media presence it is as if you are opting out on having your store front on the high street… Instead you are choosing to have it in a back alley on the outskirts of ‘internet town’. You will be harder to find, as many of your competitors embrace social media and put the effort in.
There are no half measures if you have an eye on the future. You either make the effort, or decide to place yourself on a back street, at least as far as new customers are concerned. A raving fan will always find you, but growth may suffer, and the opportunity for relatively cheap marketing will be lost.
But what is the ROI on social media?
This is a common question, and leads to a good point. Perhaps we ‘slave away’ for a couple of hours a day on social media, for what? How many new customers come through our social media postings? The answer depends on who you ask, what business they are in, and how well they are executing their social media strategy.
If you are using paid advertising, and then track purchases or email sign up rates, a ROI can be determined. If you are using the unpaid options of posting, commenting and liking, an ROI can be harder to determine.
The same applies to many facets of business.
What is the direct ROI on:
- Office cleaning
- Staff team building exercises
- Ongoing staff training
- Performance related bonus schemes
- Hiring a public relations company
- Awareness advertising on TV or in Newspapers where there is no call to action
- Sponsoring the local kids football team
- Extra maternity leave or paternity leave for staff
- Staff car parking facility
- Free coffee machine in the staff room
- Additional management training and certification
The list goes on… The fact is that unless there is a specific call to action, or a hotline telephone number designated to a particular marketing scheme, most expenses will not have a direct ROI.
There are two important questions to ask however,
How do we want to run our company?
As leaders, founders, or those responsible for sections of a company, we all have a vision of how the business ought to be run. Of course we want our offices to be cleaned and our staff to feel clear benefits in working for us. We also want to keep up with the competition, especially in the eyes of our customers.
In fact we want to be ahead of our competition don’t we? If we are truly rocking on social media, and our competitors are not, it is hard to imagine a scenario where they will overtake us.
This is because:
Social media allows direct access to the upper management in a way that cold calling, direct mail, or showing up at the office does not. If you post a relevant question to the CEO of a company on their company social media page, you are likely to get a thoughtful response.
Try getting through the bosses gatekeepers on the phone or in person, or try to send a cold email, your chances of a response are slim. This means that the successful companies on social media are closer to their network and audience.
Your target audience can feel the intimacy, and will reject competitors with the old fashioned barriers to communication only. This closeness and interaction also helps you keep your finger on the pulse of the industry, and how your company is interacting with it.
What will happen if we don’t do it?
- What will happen if you don’t clean your office?
- What will happen if you decide not to train your staff?
- What will happen if you decide to hold onto obsolete technology, when your competition is embracing the new?
Imagine that your company decides to still use fax machines rather than email? What if it decides that the new factory equipment that pays for itself in 5 years, then increases margins by 20% thereafter, can wait…
This is what you are doing if you avoid social media. It is not that critical for all businesses just yet, but if we extrapolate the trend lines, this is where it is heading.