Frequently I speak with Chief Marketing Officers (CMO’s), Business Development Specialists, Product and Brand Managers regarding Social Media engagements and they always ask: “How many customers am I going to get directly from my Social Campaigns? What’s going to be my CPA, my ROI and my ROAS? What Immediate sales will I get?” To this I respectfully respond: “Stop! Don’t look at Social as a direct response marketing channel.” These marketers often react in shock with a quizzical twist because they are used to hearing what they want which is: “Hey, all of our programs are going to get you crazy, mad sales dude, right away – mate.”
Why do I disillusion these Marketing officers at the risk of them not being interested in engaging social communities? I tell them this because Social Media is simply not a channel to look at every small user action as it relates to specific return on every dollar spent. It’s not Direct Response (DR). In many ways, it may not even be an outright “media buy”. With Social it may be important to discard concepts of CPA and traffic and other media buying models. Why?
Events in Social spheres are sometimes tough to track and tie-back, but more importantly, Social is not about individual sales nor is it about the individual. It’s about creating groups and momentous group action â€“ to move the tide and let the waves grace your shores. The return will always be there if you approach your campaigns in a well planned manner and with the right intentions. The sales will come from connection, association, buzz, referral, love and fuzzy feelings of your brand, and lifetime value of clients. It’s a bit about buzz, a bit about brand loyalty, some SEO, and a whole lot about reputation management.
It is true that Marketers (including, Your’s Truly) are able measure specific actions taken by users in the Social Media sphere. There are plenty of products, methods analytics software and tools to handle events and actions on-line, but currently no one single tool is really able to tell you down to a CPA basis what a Social Media campaign is going to deliver. Tying it all together can be more expensive (and expansive) than the campaign itself.
So mostly, I tell my CMO buddies, it’s time to start thinking about Social from the point of view of connecting with the community and reaching out to start new conversations or join existing conversations taking place on the Internet. This is scalable, it has return on investment and you shouldn’t fear it. Just don’t look at it as buying traffic or buying sales; It’s NOT.
If you are after the CPA model, stick with your PPC, CPM and affiliate work. Social is not about “buying traffic” or “H.I.T.S.”(How Idiots Track Statistics) to your website. Social is not about making people click your BUY NOW buttons on the first go-round.
Social is about the knock-on positive, long-lasting, organic/SEO, bookmarking, tagging, forwarding, viral sharing, brand, search and actual social benefits. It’s about the consistent long term placement of your brand(s). Social is maintaining your brand and your reputation. In its best form it multiplies over time with compound growth. It’s all about acting like a human and networking in it’s traditional form; being a part of the discourse, part of the conversation, meeting people and not sucking people into an E-commerce funnel. In Social, it’s the shared experience among groups and audiences that provides value to your bottom line.
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