Conventional metrics don’t accurately measure ROI either. However, looking at a conversion rateis going to help you judge the effectiveness of your social media campaign much more than made-up metrics will. But if a business generated $100,000 in sales that are, without a doubt, the result of their social media marketing the ROI is not $100,000. Conventional advertisers have known for decades that there are intangible values that are a byproduct of marketing, the most obvious being brand awareness. It is hard to convince the average small-to-medium business that branding is valuable because leads and conversions are what keep the lights on every month. For that matter, it is hard to convince most SMBs that the intangible value of their marketing has any value at all.
I think this is a dangerous mindset. Perhaps with conventional advertising businesses could get by only concerning themselves with leads and sales. I don’t know why this has become the norm, other than the fact that cash-flow is always the most important thing right now, in the present. What about the future though? That mindset assumes that the internet is just another marketing channel. In reality, the internet will rapidly become the only marketing channel that really matters. Everything will be tied in eventually, it’s only a matter of time. I admit I don’t know how soon this will be but technological advancement does move at an exponential pace. I do know that it is going to be soon enough that worrying about it later won’t do you any favors.
As for social media, one thing is clear: the internet is becoming a more social place everyday. The businesses that don’t value being part of that conversation are the ones that are ultimately going to be left behind when we finally do see a paradigm shift that puts the internet at the foundation of everything we do. The ROI of social media is clearly a long-term investment but at least that doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to leverage it now and, perhaps more importantly, not risk putting our businesses and clients in a position where they will become irrelevant and obsolete.