There is nothing wrong in using social media as a hobby. I actually do it; I don’t solely hit the internet for professional reasons. Techno Viking rocks! Thor, the thunder god approves this message; but I don’t make any money off it. I also make authentic long-term relationships with people who will probably never be clients. However, when I work social media platforms professionally for myself or on a client’s behalf, a required byproduct of the activities I perform will produce revenue.
I use a spreadsheet to forecast how much revenue my campaigns can produce. If it’s an online publication, the spreadsheet itemizes a targeted amount of pageviews to help sell more advertising. If it’s a business that sells products or services, I can conservatively estimate how many leads will be produced based on our campaigns; I can also estimate how many of the leads will become customers of my client. I have never missed my mark on long-term engagements. There have been ad-hoc experiments that I have performed on a contingency basis where I can’t make hard estimates; what happens happens. The client understands that ad-hoc doesn’t always work on the social platforms. I typically stray away from those because if the gamble goes wrong it leaves a sour taste in everybody’s mouth; kind of like when you wake up in the morning – old fecal and metallic aroma.
This is what puzzles me about quote unquote Social Media Experts talking about the difficulty of generating ROI from social media. If it is so difficult for them, how do they get hired? Is the desperation to open and maintain a Twitter account so bad that you’d you’d volunteer to be Osama Bin Laden’s human shield for a snort of coke off of Charlie Sheen’s fingernail? Don’t let anybody tell you that the use of social media is solely about branding, relationships, conversations, serendipity without those being coefficients that add to a number with a dollar sign attached to it. Communication tools on social media platforms do facilitate these dynamics that are essential for all businesses. But at the end of they day they should culminate with more commas on your bank account balance. It can’t all be flower power and kumbaya. Keep the fruit water in the Hookah pipe; unless you’re selling them, or your prospect likes to puff, puff, give.
It’s the art of marketing without marketing; but notice the word marketing is used in the aforesaid statement twice.