I speak with a lot of PR and marketing managers who are interested in adopting a social media marketing program for their company and the inevitable question always comes up, “How much is this going to cost us?”
My answer – “Nothing more than you’re already spending.”
This raises some eyebrows. “How can we get the benefits of social media without additional spending?”
With the economic slump that shows no signs of letting up anytime soon, companies are getting used to tightening their belts and doing more with less. But if this turbulent time has taught us anything, it’s that we must get the most bang for our buck.
Many companies rely upon advertising as the “safe” marketing activity, yet the return on investment is generally low. Some companies do not even calculate their advertising ROI.
However, the ROI of social media marketing can be calculated and there are many ways to tie your activities directly to your bottom line.
First, it is important to understand that “social media” are a set of tools, NOT a strategy. The strategy comes from your public relations department in the form of corporate social responsibility events (CSR). These newsworthy events, which you run for the benefit of your local community, gain you valuable attention in the local media and generate good will toward your brand. They are also a mechanism for you to engage audiences on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, your blog and other social media.
Companies that organize these CSR events on a regular basis, promote them via social media and register their participants, will build a database of customer leads and thus have ROI measures pre-built into their campaigns.
It is the job of PR to generate publicity, a positive reputation and leads. It is the job of your sales people to convert those leads into customers. At the conclusion of this sales cycle, your company will now be able to cross-reference new customers with the database you created during your social responsibility events and see your rate of conversion on paper.
So how do you do this without spending any more money? It’s simple. Reallocate 50 percent of your funding from a low ROI activity, such as advertising, to a high ROI activity such as social media-powered corporate responsibility campaign. You’ve just multiplied the value of your dollar several times.
I have advised many organizations about how to create newsworthy social responsibility events, which tap the word-of-mouth marketing power of social media networks. Write me at Robert@northeastpr.com for a no-obligation consultation.