For the past few years social media has been the word, but because the Internet offers so many choices for marketing mixes, clients want to know why the experts have chosen what they have, or in other words, clients want to know what they’re going to get out of every single tactic.
So how do you sell social media to a client when they ask for ROI figures?
I’ve read several blog posts on this topic, some of which say social media ROI can’t be calculated and some that give their version of an “ROI calculator.” I’m going to be straight with you- it’s not realistic to think you can take social media by itself and calculate some sort of monetary return.
Social media has its purpose, but for the most part, it’s not to get DIRECT conversions. This is the first thing you should mention to clients. Think of it as you would press releases- their purpose is to disseminate news, but the best thing about social media is that you control how the news is spun and you get to cut out the middle man.
Now that you’ve laid that on the table, explain that in certain situations, there are ways to lead customers to making a conversion through social media. Think of social media as you would Google Ads. If you put some text up that promotes a sale, you can make the link be a page on your website that acts as a landing page. From there, track that page to see if the traffic has increased and how many conversions came from it.
If your client is one that doesn’t have frequent promotions or sells a service rather than a product, social media is more for banding purposes, and at that point you’ll have to explain that ROI can’t directly be calculated. However, remind your client of these key benefits that indirectly boost ROI:
• Brand message control. Who are you and what kind of company do you strive to be? Don’t let others be the ones to spread that word. If you hold your company to a high standard or if you’re just super cool, be the one to brag about it. It’s a great selling point so keep people updated how you continue to be that special company.
• It’s better to be present than to be invisible. Being findable on Facebook and Twitter may not directly get your client business, but if someone searches for their company and doesn’t find them, the consumer may choose your client’s competitor who IS socially present. It’s about brand trust and visibility.
• In the event of a crisis, have your word be the first one out. Things happen. If they didn’t, PR professionals wouldn’t be hired to control consumer and media backlash. If you want your company to appear reputable and responsible, you need to be communicating, especially if something negative happens.
• Future investment. If you haven’t noticed, sometimes traditional advertising isn’t for the purpose of immediate sales. Big companies often utilize it for brand management. This is the same for social media. You invest in future brand recognition and trust when you use social media, which is in the end, what sets brands apart.