When I come across stories that make my blood boil, I generally chose not to blog about them because the last thing I want to do is to generate any more exposure for the stupid misconceptions that they are promoting. But in this case, I can’t help myself. This post “3 Reasons You Can’t Measure Social Marketing ROI” feeds into a level of ignorance and wrong-headedness that can’t be tolerated.
Granted, this story was generated by a lawyer, a species notoriously hostile to public relations and normal human conversation, but even so, this post brings misinformation to a whole new level.
Given how many organizations like P&G and Southwest Airlines and Dell are already measuring positive returns from the addition of social media to their marketing mix, the notion that you “can’t measure social marketing ROI” is like saying you can’t turn out voters with social media. Was Mr. Copeland not around for the 2012 U.S. presidential election?
Mr. Copeland contends that you don’t get clients as a direct result of your social media efforts. He should talk to Holly Allison at Vico Software. Linked In, Twitter, Facebook and SlideShare all pop right up at the top of every Google Search whenever I look up a legal topic. And granted, my business isn’t law, but I know that I’ve gotten at least three clients because they followed me on Twitter, and then direct messaged me to begin a consulting engagement.
No matter what you’re business, you can and should be measuring incoming questions, queries and leads form your social media. New leads from new sources results in tangible returns from shorter sales cycles. Greater familiarity with your rand and services yield a more efficient sales process and – all of which provide tangible ROI.
Mr. Copeland’s problem is that he seems to assume that social media works in isolation from the rest of your marketing and promotional activities, when in fact almost every Social Media ROI success story speaks of social media as augmenting the traditional marketing activities.
But that is not Mr. Copeland’s only error. He seems to be oblivious of the enormous behavioral research advances when he says “you cannot measure human behavior and perception on the kind of individual personal paradigm in order to quantify the value of interaction with social media.” IN reality, financial firms and entertainment companies are already using sentiment analytics to predict stock price, ticket sales and a variety of human behaviors.
Finally, he says “your users don’t care about your firm” and cites a colleagues self-promotion on Facebook as an example of social media efforts that aren’t yielding ROI. I’ll give him the fact that blatant self-promotion is a terrible way to generate new business, but providing insightful interesting content in places like Quora and Linked In where it can be found by people looking for solutions to specific problems is how a great many firms have increased sales and market share.
And if you have people in your organization that sound like Mr. Copeland, and don’t believe you can measure social media in a meaningful way, feel free to send this to them. Or call me and I’ll give you a dozen more pieces of evidence of just how wrong this premise is.