We are entering a point in time where this conversation is starting to get absurd.
But that doesn’t mean there still aren’t a lot of business people questioning the viability of social media with their business.
I am often pushed on being required to show the ROI in social media.
“Until you show me the ROI of social media, I’m not interested.”
Ask Hosni Mubarak the ROI of social media as he awaits the verdict on charges which include killing protestors and abusing power. The facebook page, We are all Khaled Said, was the major contribution to the start of the Egyptian Revolution.
Ask Rick Santorum the ROI of the site Spreading Santorum as it still outranks Rick’s main site on Google. And now Mitt Romney can start to think about the ROI of Spreading Romney as it moves up the listings in Google.
Perhaps you remember Qwikster and the public bashing they took with that terrible idea.
The Viacom CEO likens the social uprising against SOPA to a mob. That legislation is now history. “It was almost religious dogma,” he said. You only say that about someone who kicked your ass.
And last, but way not least, I’m quite sure Susan G. Koman understands the ROI of social media as people still continue to bash them on their Facebook page.
These are horrifying examples of social media gutting massive brands and companies. Saying that these instances are inconsequential is incredibly naive.
I bring these examples up to make a specific point. Social media is not a choice. It is happening or will happen to you. You can either get in front of it and figure out how to use it or wait for it to use you. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, social media can often be great for a company. But if you are a business of any consequence social media is going to effect your business.
You need to clearly understand that this is a people driven business revolution. No business wanted this change to happen. Business never wants change to happen.
The music industry, movie industry, TV industry, and print industry never wanted to see YouTube or file sharing or Google. The people wanted these things. And now they are here for good. These industries either figure out how to be profitable in this new world or they will disappear.
Do you think people will never talk about you on social media? Do you think just because you are an industrial product or business service you have nothing to fear?
If your product or service costs money I assure you someone cares about how good and valuable your stuff is. And they will gladly share their experiences on Twitter, on their blog, on Facebook.
The reason they will do this is because they want to be heard. They want their opinion to matter. It’s not about you. It’s about them. It’s about them sharing their experiences.
In fact, the more niche and technical something is the more it likely it will be talked about. Here is a discussion forum with thousands of threads on circuits. Here’s an active forum on metal fabrication. And here’s a forum on commercial critical cleaning strategies.
There is no topic that is safe from being discussed online.
The Rosenthal Law Firm in New York currently has 23 user reviews. It’s coming to your city and your industry. I guarantee it.
I know it’s going to happen not because you are important but because your customers want to feel important to their peers.
Social media is a business requirement. It’s a requirement because your customers want it.
Can you measure social media? Sure.
But that’s the wrong discussion.
What is the ROI of your phone? What is the ROI of your Internet connection? Your FAX machine? Your business card? Your email address? Your Web site? What is the ROI of having an office?
I’m talking about the same thing. Social media is not an option. Social media is now a fundamental requirement of doing business.