Practicing professionals often try to wrap their heads around whether or not the time and effort to pursue word of mouth referrals via Social Media channels is “worth it”. We often hear questions like: “What’s the ROI (return on investment) for Social Media?”
My response would be:
“What’s the ROI for your phone, or computer, or being engaged in your industry associations, or even physical networking? Could you imagine running your business without a phone or computer? In this day and age, the same goes for Social Networking engagement (the online counterpart of physical networking).”
It’s not difficult to grasp that without a healthy, active, and engaging presence on at least one social networking site, you are essentially telling the world you are a dinosaur. And if you’re not “publishing” and effectively distributing some sort of content that’s valuable and educational for those that have the ability/opportunity to refer you business (blogs, articles, email newsletters, white papers, ebooks), you are missing the boat in this “digital and connected age”.
As for “what does it take” to actually get business from participating in blogging, social networking, email newsletters, etc., consider the following:
It’s a very old saying in advertising, that it takes five to eight advertising impressions to gain the average person’s “conscious” attention. Once you have that attention, it’s what you do with it that counts – i.e., have something valuable for them, so that, when they get around to noticing you, there’s a reason for them to “pay attention”.
How does this translate into your blogging, newsletters & social media updates?
- Think of meeting someone at a networking event as impression #1
- An invite/connection on LinkedIn as #2
- Their “noticing” your blog post / LinkedIn status update as #3 (and that might take many status updates to happen)
- Receiving your newsletter in their inbox and opening it as #4 (latest stats are that only about 30% of all email is ever opened)
- Clicking through to your Website as #5 – and so on
A few “notice” you initially, but more will notice over time as consistent publishing, posting, emailing, and updating happens. For many more it will take months of that consistent effort – and that’s just to consciously “notice” you.
“Familiarity” takes time to build, then the “assumed trust” that comes from repeatedly being made aware of you, and being reminded of your expertise, character, and personality, all of which finally makes you a Branded Expert™. Then, if they get the chance – they might refer you, which is why you want to be connected to hundreds (if not thousands) of people through social networks, and at least as many in your email newsletter list – to which you communicate something of value consistently, and regularly.
The good news is, that never before in history has it been easier, or as cost effective (social networking accounts & even blogs are mostly free!) for you to be able to reach hundreds, if not thousands of people at a time.
So back to the original question; Is it worth it? The evidence from our many phoneBlogger clients is a resounding YES, it is worth it. The question to ask yourself now is – – are you going to give all this social networking stuff a try, and see if it works for you?