Relationships aren't simple. In fact, they're pretty complicated. But every step of the way, you're building something - you get to know each other - you find out what the other person does and doesn't like - you fight - you make up - you build trust - you fall in love - and eventually, for most, you say "I do". It's far from the final step in a relationship, but it's a milestone you work toward during all of those good (and bad) dates, missed punch lines, and family dinners...
Recently, during a 90-minute social media consultation with a client, the question that always comes up came up.
"What is the ROI of social media"?
If you work in this industry, no doubt you've been asked this one before. If you're a business thinking about integrating social media into your marketing plan (and want to make money), you've no doubt been the one asking this question.
In today's "microwave generation" of instant gratification and quick results, social media is still, for many, an extremely foreign concept. But at the end of the day, social media is a tool to build and nurture relationships - and - just as with any "real life" relationship, they take time to develop.
Before you can push a sale, you have to put in the work. You need to earn the trust, respect, and love of your audience, community, and consumers.
In your plan, allow time for building relationships. Don't lose sight of your benchmarks and goals, but understand that successful social media campaigns aren't campaigns (one night stands) they're ongoing, beautiful relationships that take time to develop and are forever a work-in-progress.
Where should you start?
Take a look at other brands and how they're getting things done (without pushing sales). Start experimenting with your own conversation starters. Give people an incentive to talk back. Make mistakes, be ready to apologize, and keep trying new things.
Through it all, simply by being engaged and making an effort, your a huge step ahead of most. There's a lot to be said for being top of mind - not being perfect, not being the best salesman, but being a brand that people remember having a conversation with.
Being memorable matters. Put in the time and show a little patience. Everything will not have a direct return on investment, but it all will contribute to your greater good, including a greater bottom line.