What’s the ROI on Blogging and Social Media?
Many people in businesses today still think in the traditional sales and marketing terms when it comes to social media. They think that if we post a few blogs, tweet once a week and create a business Facebook page, the phone will start ringing off the hook, like a newspaper ad. It’s not quite like that.
To avoid the uncomfortable conversation that usually follows this expectation, I try to discuss the ROI (return on investment) of blogging with clients before we even sign a contract. If you’re depending on blogging as your entire marketing, advertising and money-generating plan, you’re going to be disappointed. Ron Ploof, a very wise man, wrote a blog called Audience as an Asset, and although you can read the whole article, I’ll use an example here to illustrate.
Some of you may remember the recent fight between tech blog PhoneDog and a previous employee, Noah Kravitz. When Kravitz left PhoneDog’s employ, the company sued him. Why? Espionage? Embezzlement? A missing stapler?
No, the reason was Kravitz’s Twitter account. While employed at the company, Kravitz started a Twitter feed with the name @PhoneDog_Noah and, as Editor-In-Chief, managed to build an audience of 17,000 followers. He built that following and fed the account on his own, not under any requirement, urging or other missive from his employer.
But, when Kravitz left PhoneDog, he naturally changed his Twitter handle. Unlike Facebook, you can change your handle on Twitter without starting over, and so he did. PhoneDog sued for $340,000 in damages. In a statement to the Times, PhoneDog.com explained:
“The costs and resources invested by PhoneDog Media into growing its followers, fans and general brand awareness through social media are substantial and are considered property of PhoneDog Media L.L.C. We intend to aggressively protect our customer lists and confidential information, intellectual property, trademark and brands.”
PhoneDog realized the value of its ex-employee’s efforts, and realized that they were as much of an asset as the company’s trademarks and intellectual property. As of February, PhoneDog has been fairly successful in their attempts to sue Kravitz. (This is why I avoid this issue by stating in my contract that all content I provide becomes the clients’ property.)
Here’s another example, and one much closer to home for me. Just last month, one of the few Jewish delis in Orange County shut its doors—right before Passover. Guess who benefited? My client, Benjies New York Deli.
Why? Because all of the loyal patrons of the closed deli started combing the Internet for another place to have their latkes and matzoh ball soup. Suddenly the investment that Benjies had made in blogging showed a “return”, because those blogs we wrote on Reuben sandwiches, deli platters, brisket, traditional Jewish food and Passover seder plates were easily found online and drove new customers in the door. And, even though they pride themselves on being around since 1967, they sure are modern when it comes to online marketing.
So, the moral of this story is to look at blogging and social media as part of who and what your company is. They don’t call it an online “presence” for nothing. Don’t think of it as “If I blog it, they will come”, but more of promoting yourself in the best light often to your fans, your future fans and those interested in your product or service.
If you still are confused about the benefits of blogging, please feel free to email me directly!
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