Is Your Social Media Marketing Pulling Its Weight? What’s Your ROI?

Strongmen event: the Truck pull (no rope). UD8...

Strongmen event: the Truck pull (no rope). UD80 truck (Nissan Diesel). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Internet makes social media marketing really easy. You can create a Facebook page or an Instagram account (for free). Blogs are free (or low-cost with your own domain).  So is commenting  on posts, interacting on Google+, or Twitter, or Snapchat.  All free.

The only cost is time. And woo hoo, look ma, I’m marketing!

I realize that everyone may not like this post, but here goes.

Likes are not ROI

Is liking on Facebook really marketing? What about encouraging other people to “like” your page?  Does the time spent there (or on other social networks) get you anything tangible?  Can you tell?

“Likes” or “+1s” are easy.  Your visitors click once, they leave, and then they forget the whole thing ever happened.

I’ve seen large companies spend millions on campaigns along the lines of “hey the new ___ movie just came out, like us on Facebook if you like the movie.”

Really?  Why?

Same thing with a Klout score.  Yes, they add goodies and prizes as you reach different levels of “influence.” But couldn’t you go out and buy yourself most of those things? And the topics Klout claims you know never seem to quite match its members actual areas of expertise.

Measuring real social media marketing ROI

The real measure  of a marketing effort isn’t the number of “likes” it gets.   They’re not a measurement of success.  Likes don’t lead to anything that really matters for a business, particularly a small to medium business.  Large companies can afford to waste their money that way.  You can’t.

If you are going to use Facebook or other social networking sites, use them with a better strategy.

Do something that leads to a direct return on your effort and time.  Run a survey (with a free report on the results to the participants.  Use that information to create new products or services.

Run a series of ads offering a solution to a problem your clients have, with a link to get more information on the product.

How to find your true social media marketing ROI

If you’re running an ad, or posting somewhere, track how many clicks you got.  Then see how much each click cost you.

Of the people who clicked, how many signed up for your newsletter?  Or filled out your survey? Or turned into a lead for further follow up?

Can you follow it through a sales process?  How many of those leads turned into a sale? What was the return you got on the ad money you spent?

Measure, and track, and you’ll know if your efforts are worth their weight in gold (or just lead).


A Surprising Source of Social Media Marketing Secrets

Indonesian magazines at a kiosk in Jakarta.

Image via Wikipedia

Magazines have been marketing themselves for over 100 years. In that time, they’ve learned lots of ways of interacting with readers.

Some insist that paper is obsolete, but those magazines and newspapers still have a few tricks up their saddle-stitched sleeves. The best part? You can adapt those tactics to the web and social media.

Here’s how it works.

Reader surveys

Magazines, especially women’s magazines love to include reader surveys. Readers write (or email now) in with answers to surveys about food, shopping, TV watching, all sorts of things. The readers are happy because they got to give an opinion (people love sharing opinions). The magazine editors get insights into what their readers want, will buy, and will read about. You can do this online too. Ask a question on your blog. Survey your email list. Then post the results.


Ask people to test their skills and knowledge. How much do you know about digital photography? Or Greek myths? Or Twitter? It’s fun – and it’s a super-sneaky “involvement device” – a way to get people to spend more time on your site.


Give something away. Everyone likes freebies. Offer a blog review to five random people. Encourage people to tweet, Facebook, and share your contest. In this case, online is even better – it’s easier to share and pass along than cutting out pages from a magazine.

Have you run a contest or quiz? How did it turn out? Do you think it’s a good idea?


We’ve all gotten tired of deceptive “click bait’ headlines and “one weird trick,’ but magazines have been writing great headlines for years.  They know how to get your attention and persuade you to grab a copy and buy it. That’s not click bait, that’s good marketing. Use your headlines, subject lines, and post titles to engage emotions, prompt curiosity, and drive more opens and clicks.

Want Clients? You’ll Need This

in god we trust, all others pay cash

Image by Tom Riddle via Flickr

The motto “In God We Trust” is on all U.S. currency. It’s fairly common to see signs (especially in New York) that add “all others pay cash.”  This is because building trust is essential in business relationships.

Store owners don’t know everyone who walks in off the street.  So, they don’t trust them.

Without trust, we just don’t want to take the risk of losing money, or being tricked in some way.

Why is trust important?

That same store owner may change his/her mind if you come in every week (or every day). Once they know and recognize you, they may throw in a extra piece of fruit, or tell you not to worry if you’re a couple of pennies short in change.

The difference is that they now trust you.

Last week, responding to my post (Why People Buy) Josh said,


I believe that there is now a stark difference between those smart copywriters who know just what to say and those friends we have in our personal networks who make a genuine recommendation to help us.

The problem with social networks is that brands are in effect trying to become that trusted friend immediately. They think that because you’ve given them permission to broadcast on your Facebook feed, they are in!

Build trust before you sell

Josh is absolutely right.  Many brands try to be your “friend” in situations in which the word “friend” is not terribly accurate.  Your real friends are people, not corporations.

Recommendations are great if they come from someone you know well enough and long enough to trust, not the social media manager for a big company. The most effective recommendations are from friendships in “meat space,” or a well-respected authority in the field (Brian Clark on copywriting or Chris Brogan on social media).

Big brands often use celebrities for this reason, hoping that the “glow” from the star will extend to their razors or shampoo or cars.

But do you really know Tiger Woods? Apparently, we didn’t.

Trust leads to more sales

If your readers/fans/subscribers trust you, and trust the recommendations you make, yes, they will buy. Not only because of smart copywriting (though that certainly helps, says the smart copywriter), but because of trust and because of a relationship. If you skip the hard work of building the relationship (and lose the trust) you won’t get the sale.

Before you start friending or becoming a fan, stop and think.  Are you starting a conversation, or  making a big social media marketing mistake?

Share your thoughts

Do you trust brands on social networks?  Would you “friend” Tide or Charmin?  What about a less-familiar brand?