ROI: Return on Investment or Risk of Ignoring?

Is the pre-occupation with Return on Investment stopping businesses from gaining true value from social media?

In terms of social media marketing it appears that, although financial and tangible Return on Investment are hard to quantify, the Risk of Ignoring will be easy to spot in terms of tangible results and consumer dissatisfaction. Businesses must overcome the fear of social media in order to maintain relevance in today's shark infested waters.

It is not important to measure social media in terms of financial loss or gain, as this will be shown in overall sales figures, but to measure feeling amongst your consumers over time and manage this to the best of your ability.

Too many businesses appear to be taking the misinformed approach and directing their social media marketing towards sales and definitive targets, the true value of social media marketing is not easily quantifiable and linked to tangible gain. However as I have suggested before, it is those who take time and care to share, interact and communicate on a level to their consumers who will ultimately win.

To many, investing in social media is a bridge too far at the moment in terms of time and expense, and many others desire to garner financial results from social media is blighting their engagement with consumers.

But it was a piece of literature that suggested that instead of thinking of ROI as Return on Investment, businesses should be looking at ROI as the Risk of Ignoring. Because with the use of Social Media growing rapidly, competitors will reach your target audience if you choose to either not have a social media strategy or enter to into this channel half-heartedly.

This piece went onto suggest that non-participation in the modern day is being seen as meaning that you do not care about your clientele and gaining this trust is critical in the modern marketplace with so much competition.

Finally and perhaps most importantly the piece stated that 'the conversation will happen about you,whether you are involved or not'. Thus non-involvement leaves your business helpless and unable to influence the feeling towards your business by the mass consumer.

This has got me thinking whether or not it is truly important to measure Return on Investment regarding social media marketing or the mere presence of your brand within these channels is the most important reason for social media marketing?

The growth of social media in the previous five years has meant that the majority of people seem to be utilizing one social media tool or another. Thus it would suggest to not invest in some form of social media marketing is a foolish or dangerous tactic for any business in the modern world.

Again this view is subjective and totally dependent on what variety of business you are analyzing, but one thing remains a constant, that customers in the modern day hold more power than ever before. It has never been easier to switch to a new provider or product, find and research a new brand and ultimately consume a vast array of products and services.

Thus ultimately Listening to your customers has become critical for businesses, and social media is a particularly easy and relatively cost free way of following the moods and feelings of your target market.

This type of interaction and engagement takes time and care to achieve effective results, and perhaps does not ever have a definitive start and a finish time. This is where the crux of the argument lies, if there is no definitive start and finish time to social media marketing, how do you effectively measure Return on Investment?