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Social Media ROI

by Randall Craig on December 15, 2010

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Social Media

Tagged as: ,

Do you have a nagging concern that all of the time you spend on Social Media is not giving you a good return on your time investment? If so, you’re probably right, and you’re not alone. Too many people (and businesses) waste time doing activities that yield very little, often for the sole reason that “everyone” is on Social Media, and therefore they should be too.

This assumption can be easily tested, and your time made far more productive, by following a few basic – and obvious – guidelines:

1) Survey your customers and prospects to see where they spend their time online. While it is true that prospects can be found “everywhere”, they likely will congregate on some sites more than others. In other words, if they’re not on YouTube, why spend your time there?

2) Ask them what they are doing while online. This information can provide clues for how you might interact with them in Social Media. Helping them do more of what they want to do is easier than getting them to do what they aren’t. For example, if they are looking for product support, then your blog might focus on this topic. If they are using Social Media for product research, you might sponsor a contest for users to submit product usage videos. If they are spending their time playing games, you might consider developing one, or paying for a “product placement” within a popular game.

3) Ask them for their ideas about what they might be interested in having you provide through Social Media. If they are looking for support, then you might create YouTube How-to videos, or a moderated customer support forum. If they are looking for deals, then you might start a Twitter feed with early notification of sales, or text messages with special discount codes.

4) Set specific objectives, then monitor and measure the impact of your Social Media time investment against them. This will help you translate “nagging concerns” into concrete information on which you can act.

The whole notion of Social Media is all about the conversation. To get a higher Social Media ROI, why not use the very medium to make sure that this happens?

This week’s action plan: Of course, these guidelines should be on your to-do list, but even more important is the converse: stop doing things that don’t yield results. It’s too easy to let the pipe dream of building followers, contacts, and connections distract you from the hard reality that some activities just aren’t worth doing.

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Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

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