10 life lessons social media taught me about business a building and ROI

Every business, big or small, turns to social media to save money versus other marketing channels. Since the costs are lower, many then expect the ROI (Return on Investment) to be higher.
The good news is these are realistic expectations. We see this for clients that range from Fortune 100 companies to smaller B2B companies.  But, unless you understand the principles at work and work at them, as with anything worth doing well, it’s probably not going to happen.
Here are 10 life lessons social media taught me about business a building and ROI.

  1. A BLOG CAN BE AS EFFECTIVE AS A WEBSITE (BUT COSTS LESS).  A website is essential for digital presence and branding. But did you know 95% of people never read more that 5 pages or visit for longer than 5 minutes? You may not need to build a website when a blog can do just as well. This website for BarnRaisers, an online marketing and social media solutions company, is a blog build on sweat equity. It’s been effective for lead generation. It’s helped secure new business and, best of all, it’s been our learning tool for WordPress, the website platform we use for all our clients, including an e-commerce brand with over 100 SKU’s. Plus, the frequency of blog postings steadily increased our search rank. Could we build a traditional website? Yes. Would we? Why.
  2. BY SHINING A LIGHT ON OTHERS, YOU ATTRACT ATTENTION TO YOURSELF:  It takes times to build an audience in social media, but less time if you acknowledge others.  For example, comment on others’ blogs and establish “links” that improve SEO; Re-Tweet the Tweets of those you admire and they are more likely to follow and Re-Tweet you.  The overall effect is you are seen as a person “in the know” and distinguish yourself as a giver in a world of takers.
  3. YOUR SOCIAL VOICE IS YOUR  VALUE PROPOSITION: A Value Proposition is a summary statement of why a consumer should buy a product or service from you. It is used to target customers who benefit most for what you are offering and appeal to their strongest decision-making drivers.  Companies pay the price when they veer off course and lose sight of their Value Proposition.  I could substitute the words, Social Voice, for Value Proposition in any of these sentences because it’s the same thing.
  4. PEOPLE LIKE TO DO BUSINESS WITH PEOPLE THEY KNOW: A simple truth about business and branding is familiarity is a big advantage.  It creates trust and minimizes risk.  Social media gives people the opportunity to know you, often before you even meet. Aren’t you more likely to open up to someone whose blog you’ve read or participated in a LinkedIn discussion? Isn’t it easier to have a conversation? The ROI of familiarity is it accelerates the buying cycle.
  5. CONSISTENT COMMUNICATIONS ARE BETTER THAN AN OCCASIONAL FLASH OF BRILLIANCE: Good content and frequent publishing are two important social media requirements.  You won’t get anywhere without them.  You can obsess all your want about what you write but you won’t make progress if you’re not publishing frequently.
  6. SOCIAL MEDIA ELIMINATES THE MIDDLEMAN:  Higher ROI’s occurs in social media because there are many low-cost widgets, apps and measurement tools, made for marketing purposes, that do the work of services that have traditionally cost a lot more.  For example, we are doing a sweepstakes for a terrific product, TortillaLand fresh, uncooked tortillas, from Circle Foods in San Diego.  TortillaLand tortillas cook in 60 seconds and taste like they were just made for you in a restaurant.  The brand is running a sweepstakes on Facebook, Win 3 iPads – 1 for you, 2 for friends, using the Wildfire app.  The prize costs more than all the marketing expenses combined.
  7. SOCIAL NETWORKS HAVE THEIR OWN PERSONALITIES, JUST LIKE THE PEOPLE WHO USE THEM: I can tell you about 6 businesses that have great results with Facebook and 6 businesses in the same category that have great results with Twitter.  What’s the difference? The people who do the posting. Some have a gift with 140 characters. Some like to post with a little show and tell. What’s the lesson? Find what works for you and stick with it.
  8. YOU’RE COMPANY IS NOT IN THE PRODUCT OR SERVICES BUSINESS; IT”S IN THE RELATIONSHIP BUSINESS: “The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer,” said Peter Drucker.  Pretty sound thinking because every company is in the customer satisfaction and relationship business. When you think about your company in these terms, social media has a role as a listening and engagement tool.
  9. YOU START A GLOBAL BUSINESS THE MOMENT YOU BEGIN: Social media attracts consumers from all over the world.  This may or may not be a priority but think about this.  For brands that do want to go global, it used to take years. Now, it happens the moment you begin.
  10. SOME OF THE MOST INSPIRING CASE STUDIES ARE BUSINESSES THAT TURN TO SOCIAL MEDIA AS THEIR LAST RESORT: This blog lists a good number of social media case studies.  We’ve written 67 Case Studies that Prove Social Media ROI and 34 Case Studies that Prove Social Media ROI.  We’ve found when the chip are down and no other marketing resources are available, social media has been the turning point.  Joe Sorge of Burger Joint, AJ Bombers, with no resources for traditional marketing, used Twitter as his customer service department.  It became a distinguishing feature of the restaurant and sales increased +60%within a year. When Mari Luangrath of Foiled Cupcakes opened for business, she could make the cupcakes on time but the website developer couldn’t deliver the website. With no Plan B, she launched her business on Facebook and Twitter instead and exceeded her business forecast by +600%. Today, 95% of her customers still come for these two social networks.

All of these lessons taught me only by jumping in and doing do you see results to inspire others. What do these lessons about social media and business building teach you?

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