or How to get the Best Value Out of Your Social Media Budget

You know that you can’t ignore this social media thing any longer; it’s just not going away. Or maybe you really think you can pretend that Twitter is just a cute cartoon like bird, but your boss is all gung ho and you job is on the line. In either case, you know it’s time to know whether or not you want a public page, a community page, a cause, or a personal profile on Facebook. You break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it, so you hire another agency to help you navigate through your first social media campaign.

Proving the Value of Social Media

No matter who’s idea it is, there is probably someone in your company who cares about what this whole newfangled social experiment thing is going to cost them and what they can expect to get back for their investment.  Someone always has the job to ask about how to measure the ROI of social media. Sometimes, you job might be to answer to him. That’s a bummer.

The problem is that many companies have had trouble identifying what they WANT from social media before they jump right on in. It’s even harder sometimes to explain to the guy who cares about the money that no Twitter is not just some silly cartoon bird and having 100 new followers is a good thing. Of course, it has little value to him. He’s thinking Looney Toons. 

 It’s really hard to tell if something is working if there are no real goals or expectations to measure up to! Even when a company can identify a goal like ” increase Facebook Fans or the current mutual “Friends who like”; I often will ask, ” Ok what will you DO with the fans if you get more?”

Really, what’s the point. We don’t collect people!

So you understand the value, you have assigned a goal and there is an overall plan; but still:

Are You Sure that You are Getting the Most for Your Social Media Money?

Let’s forget for a second the illusive ROI. SMM is not PPC, folks. There is not an easy way to measure the true cost per conversion.  So we need to think of measuring social media in a different way.

 One of the things that we often talk to potential clients about is their digital footprint. I can get a descent idea of where they are in their social media journey,  if there is a plan, if they have had a questionable past, if they are a good company to work for and how open they are to the internet just by looking at their website and googling their name. Just a quick read of the Universal Search and so much needs not be said; a brand or person’s online reputation speaks for itself. One of the things I like to quote out is “create and add to Brand XYZ’s online “real estate” portfolio.  At DragonSearch , we increase the viable online presence of our clients, branding them in the process and build the relationships with their end customers. 

If you think of every new profile, every new blog post of comment, every back link built, a business has another URL under their control. It’s like claiming a piece of a developing map. It’s like buying real estate by the square foot.

Sometimes you are just renting some URL space, like if you are running banner ads that only link to your site as long as you pay. Pay per click is like that too. Turn it on and turn it off.

And even when you have everything optimized for SEO, you might find that your ranks will ebb and flow depending upon the other URL addresses in the neighborhood. It’s like your property values go up and down!

In social media and with online advertising, sometimes the control is fleeting. It often happens much more quickly, so we are always trying to find new ways to capture the fleeting buzz and trace that back to the origins. Still, well done it is possible to blanket much of the internet with controlled buzz. Some people call that “viral”.

Still one of the best things is a permanent link or URL. Every URL that you host on your own site or control through the profile is like a solid piece of paid for real estate; something you own and control. Virtual real estate, like it’s land locked counterpart, must be paid for.  Unlike true land, much online isn’t so much for sale, but rather does not yet exists. In real estate we pay for the right to occupy, online we pay for the time it takes to create and maintain.  Anyone who wishes to build a social media presence can either create profiles and build the presence themselves, or pay someone else, like DragonSearch,  to do it.

No matter who does  the creation, however, it will take time; either time you or your company invest in man power and training, or money that you pay the third party agency to create your social media presence for you. And like the purchase of real property, the more money you have to spend has a direct relationship to the amount of real estate you will be able to own.

The question every company thinking about entering the social media playing ground should be asking themselves:

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