What’s the social media return on investment?
Ask that question to your favorite social media guru and watch them choke like Tony Romo at the sight of an Eagle. Then watch them redefine the meaning of the word “is”, rearrange the variables in the age old cash-on-cash formula and come up with a calculation that would confuse Einstein himself. You see, they have to do that because the numbers stink. If you were to put one method against the other, dollar earned for dollar earned, you’d have a higher ROI if you sat at Starbucks asking every patron if they wanted to buy or sell. Don’t get this twisted now – I’m not saying no one has ever gotten a client out of social media. As a matter of fact I know the exact opposite to be true from personal experience. But in the current state, if your primary marketing strategy for your real estate business was to pour all your marketing energy into social media, the dollars you’d get back from your efforts would make you take a serious look at Burger King employment opportunities.
The Dirty Little Secret About Social Media ROI
Dismissing social media as a fad is simply foolish and I’m not attempting to do nothing of the kind. But there’s an 800 pound gorrilla in the twitterstream that no one will talk about. So I will:
Strictly from an ROI perspective, in its current state and reach social media can produce great returns on money and time invested, if the business is marketing to other businesses. The opposite tends to be true for businesses marketing to consumers
Let’s give some examples. If you are a graphic or web designer trying to find clients, Twitter is your absolute best friend in the whole wide world. Nothing else you could be doing instead, will match its results. If you are a mortgage pro who’s looking to establish relationships (hence, referrals) from local Realtor, engaging them on Twitter, friending them on Facebook will be a profitable venture if you play your cards right. Same goes for insurance agents, home warranty reps etc etc. But if you are a Realtor scouring Twitter for consumers that are just waiting there patiently for a nice agent to DM them so they could sell their home … (do I really need to finish?) There are some rare exceptions – i.e. restaurants, coffee shops can do great things in building loyal customers through social media.
Don’t forget the intangibles
Before those of you that completely misunderstood my paragraph above chew my head off, I want to point out the intangibles of social media that though might not be measured in banknotes, are priceless nevertheless.
- Brain Trust – The brilliant people that I’ve met on Twitter and the ability to pick their brain about issues, is a paradigm shift, in my opinion. Because of their advice and experience, I can make decisions that will allow me to make more money (or avoid losing)
- Top of Mind Awareness – Facebook may not help me in locating new clients, but it sure helps in creating more clients out of the people I already know. Through this amazing tool, I can stay in touch, demonstrate my expertise and ensure that when that time comes, mine will be the number they dial.
- Dollars are not the only benchmark – Businesses are brilliantly using social media for other purposes that don’t involve business generation. Providing customer service and building brand equity are two of the many functions social media facilitates and elevates to higher levels.
It’s just the beginning
Finally, remember that we are in the early stages of the game. As the reach of social media grows and becomes even more mainstream the results will come. So there is something to be said about positioning yourself now and grabbing that first mover advantage.
(There. I feel so much better… )