Busting the Myth on Social Media ROI

Gretchen Fox

March 28, 2017

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If you have any doubt that social media is an absolute goldmine primed to be picked out of the ether like an apple off a tree, you need to invest the two or three minutes it will take to read this post.

The first thing you must realize is that the notion that social doesn't drive serious business impact and, let's be clear, revenue-specific impact, is perpetuated by an industry rife with self-described gurus and smoke-and-mirror impostors who've never had to demonstrate ROI.

Stop listening to anyone who tells you that social media can't generate revenue. What those people are telling you is that they don't know how.

It's not rocket science. It's social science—and there is an absolute, surefire, step-by-step path to success.

While most companies still haven't figured it out yet, if you take just a quick look around, you'll notice almost every big brand is investing heavily in social, with teams of 30–40 full-time employees, multiple agencies, millions in social ads, and technology dedicated to social. Why? Because they already know it's a goldmine.

If you're not using social media to drive revenue, not only are you missing out on money, you're risking the entire future of your business. Before you know what's happened, your competition can swoop in and, in a short time, take what you've spent years building. Just ask the entire taxicab industry.

Look, as someone who got in on the ground floor (I ran first-time social programs for some of the biggest sports properties in the world), I'll admit that it did take a lot longer than expected for social to become a selling force. But today, money is flowing through social/digital channels in the Billions, with a capital B.

It took social professionals a while to figure out the social sales funnel. People are in a different mindset when they are on social media; it's not the same as when they're browsing Amazon with a credit card in hand. We had to learn how to meet people in all their times of need and move them along step-by-step, one small low-barrier action at a time.

It's a process. It's a science. And it's an art.

It's different from the traditional marketing funnel. And it must be customized for each business, which makes it a little tricky until you have experience being able to work (and test) at scale. It's in volume that you can see the behavior patterns across platforms, people, and industries.

But now, we have arrived at the time and place where truly anyone and any company can find the perfect audience, create a social sales funnel, and convert prospects into a steady stream of new customers who will go on to become loyal advocates for the brand. All trackable. And all self-serve.

Let that sink in for a minute. It has never been easier to find and convert an audience.

Gretchen Fox is a recognized executive and thought leader in social marketing. Fox provides a social vision and strategy for startups and Fortune 500 brands striving to take social to the next level. Prior to launching [made to order], she served as vice president of Social at Live Nation Entertainment, the world's leading live entertainment company where she trained and guided hundreds of marketers across North America.

Before joining Live Nation, Fox launched one of the first Social TV products to deliver interactively and live streaming experiences at NASPERS R&D project and Silicon Valley start-up, MediaZone. In this role, she managed online marketing for some of the world's biggest sports properties including: AELTC's Wimbledon Championships, IndyCar Race Control, Rugby World Cup, ING New York City Marathon, and NBC's Winter Olympics.

Her work has earned her the Billboard Magazine Top Women in Social, regular press coverage, and a role as contributing writer for Forbes online.

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Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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