said 1 year, 4 months ago:
At the risk of being called an expert on “Social Media”, let me offer a measure that does allow you to keep track whether Social Media is actually helping create long term value for your brand, as well as helping you acquire and retain customers.
That measure is called “allowable cost per brand champion“. If you can create brand champions at less than your allowable cost, you are making a profit. Or at the very least, saving money while helping your business grow.
A brand champion is defined as anyone who recommends your business/brand to others without being paid to do so. (This is not the same as retweeting or sharing a post. There are more interesting ways of identifying a brand champion.)
Cost includes time spent on Social Media. You need to put a value on your hours. A good way would be to put the hour value you could have earned with that time, doing something else. Or what it would have cost you to hire and train someone to be your brand’s spokesperson. You’ll soon realize how expensive “social media” can be! It isn’t easy to find and coach someone as credible as you are for your own business!
Amazingly, the power of using ‘Social Media’ well, still makes it very profitable for even the CEO to put in time.
Brand Champions can be existing customers as well as prospects.
It is possible to be a brand champion and not be a customer. But Brand Champions help you acquire and retain customers, or monetize your online community . They also defend the brand when anyone attacks it. (We are probably all Brand Champions of Social Media Examiner.)
Before the phrase ‘Social Media’ became a buzzword, this process of acquiring and retaining customers used to be called Relationship Marketing.
The principle still applies. Word-of-Mouth has always been a strong medium. Word-of-Mouse just gives you an easier way to track the process of attracting prospects, befriending them, creating a brand community, making them brand champions. When they, or those in their ‘circle’, require your products and services, you get customers.
It is not unlike live business networking. Just that you can do it from the comfort of your home or office.
I do not see myself as a Social Media expert. But I have been growing people who grow brands for the last 25 years.
What I have learnt is that common sense usually applies.
You don’t really need “Social Media” experts.