Money, money, money.
When I hear about ROI it's connected and described as money. But that's not what ROI is all about. Return On Investment (ROI) is "A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments." - according to Investopedia.
When a person connects ROI and Social Media, they often refer to the amount of sales they will receive from their latest campaign. They are focusing only on the Return and ignoring the Investment. Strong investments are not get rich quick schemes; they are constantly maintained and monitored investments that hone in on the best present and future gains.
Think of a simple rental investment. Once you purchase the house, you spend time making it look nice and finding the right tenants for the place. Over the years you continually maintain it and keep it in good shape and every so often update it to fit the current standards. By the time you sell it, there is a good chance (based on the previous years care) that you will get a bigger return than what you initially invested.
Your Return On Investment in Social Media if done correctly, can continue to provide you with great results on a continuous basis. But it will only work if you really care for your investment (fans) by providing advice, maintenance and updates for the months that follow. Remember, Youtube video's can stay around for years!
Moving money to the side, here are the most powerful ROI's that you can gain from Social Media:
- Continuous communication with fans
- Customer written blog posts about great experiences
- Photos and Videos of incredible customer service
- Positive brand recommendations
- Modern understanding of what the clients want
- Thankyou's from clients in the public eye
- Respect for allowing fans to communicate with you
- A general sense that company cares about the customer voice
- Honest and raw feedback
In many cases, these returns will provide for you longer than financial avenues. They will build the stories that craft your brand into a household name and give you a great public image to boot. Brown fizzy soft drink is not exactly something that gets me excited. But seeing Coke continually push the boundaries of social engagement, connection and human development is. By focusing your honest attention to your customers you can build revenue streams far bigger than those with only traditional push marketing.