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ROIOne of the first questions I get from our clients is how can I prove that our social media efforts are making us money?  My answer has always been that it works the same as networking in real life face to face – so how do you track and manage that?  Same system holds true for online social networking. If you don’t know how to track your efforts offline, there is no magic bullet (or website) that will give you a ROI bar chart and immediate engagement.

A common misconception is that by creating accounts on Facebook and Twitter you will start to see immediate improvements in your sales just by the sole fact you exist in social platforms.  Just like in the ’90s registering a domain name and throwing up a splash page didn’t get trucks of money to your front door, a social media presence doesn’t insure success, sales leads, or revenue.  Think long term, but take small, manageable steps every day.  What should you be working towards?  Same goals you work towards offline.  Now you know what I’m going to say next – without a plan offline, you can’t possibly develop a strategy for online and hope to ‘prove your investment’.  My company offers a seminar taking you step by step in designing your own personalized plan that’s right for your business, but even that won’t work if you don’t know why or how you want to promote your company.

My advice? If you haven’t already begun to network in person, developing relationships, determining what type of clients and business you want to attract, you need to get back to the drawing board before diving in online.  If you have a solid offline plan, then maybe it’s time you stepped up your game and give social networking a deeper look.

Read the article that inspired this post at Duct Tape Marketing