An interesting post on Clickz caught my eye called The ROI of Social Media is Still Zero. One reason that I liked this article is that it is grounded in the day to day reality of people out there in the field managing social media for a business.

A lot of people seem to think that social media could be the total solution for all of your business marketing needs. For the majority of companies this is not true. What social media does offer is the ability to interact with your biggest fans and respond to people who are less than your fan and, if possible, right the wrong and make them a raving fan.

There is no immediate payoff to just starting to use social media for your business. It is not a soapbox for most companies and it really is a conversation that your business has the opportunity to get involved in. You are definitely going to get residual value out of other people seeing someone else liking your page, you may even get some website traffic from a tweet, but at the end of the day social media’s biggest payoff for most businesses are twofold:

  • Reputation management and customer service (the PR portion of social media) – whether the story out there is good or bad, for the most part people just want to be heard. The fact that your business takes the time to respond to their concerns or thank them for their compliments will resound with your customers and your potential customers will be able to know that you as a business care about their feedback.
  • Search engine optimization a.k.a. SEO (the marketing side of social media) – Yes, most social media websites add a “no follow” to the outgoing links, but social media offers your business to share relevant content with your audience that they may then in turn share with others or link to it from their website.

Websites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Yelp offer an online interaction that on most levels will continue to exist or grow as the internet continues to mature. You can’t just ignore that people are talking, your best bet is to participate, but don’t give up the rest of your marketing efforts – social media is just one more piece of your overall marketing strategy..

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