Finding Social Media ROI is like Hunting a Unicorn (Part IV)

Post four wraps up this wild ride with some advice on how to put your social media efforts into proper perspective. This is the final blog post on why social media ROI is as challenging as corralling a mythical unicorn. Read Part I, Part II, & Part III here.

In Conclusion: Building, implementing, maintaining a social media strategy is a time-intensive endeavor, especially when the payoff isn’t there yet for most every Financial Institution. The first two blog posts I shared have this correct.  I know of a handful of banks with consistently worthy social media efforts. They are the true unicorns…and they are rare.

Not everyone can or should lead social media ventures…as indicated by the third item.  Technical proficiency in generating a page and “likes” isn’t what you or your institution should be shooting for.

Finally, our industry has gone so far past ROI when it comes to social media that we’ve forgotten about the limited resources we have to generate revenue for our institutions!  I rarely hear people talk about time management.  Perhaps this is because our industry has downsized so much that most people are so busy chasing unicorns that it seems as if everyone is working hard!  Have we become afraid to say, “that’s not the best use of our time” for fear of being viewed as incapable of working as hard as Sue or Bob down the hall?  Saying no to non-revenue generating activities is a valued skill.

It’s refreshing to see articles that question the validity of Social Media as a revenue generating strategy.  And, it was enough to shake me out of my non-blogging ways to reengage my four readers!

Feel free to comment. I’m sure some will say that Social Media isn’t meant to generate revenue but to generate engagement. Well, what is the true, main job of a great marketer? To generate results that impact the bottom line? Or to generate minimal engagement amongst a limited segment of your customer base? To generate “likes”?  And, what if you only have time for one of these? Which do you think would save your job if it were ever on the chopping block?

 

Footnote 1: OK, so maybe I’ve used my own social media endeavors to uncover a unicorn or two…I have booked some speaking gigs because of what someone saw on my LinkedIn profile or because of a recommendation.  More likely, these weren’t unicorns but like a Guide Horse (aka. Miniature Helper Pony for the Blind). My social media strategies center on looking for a way to increase my visibility but in ways that wouldn’t require more resources than I had to devote…or more succinctly put, strategies that I could ignore when higher ROI activities presented themselves. This blog is great, but can be abandoned for 160+ days when sales become so busy that you can’t devote resources to maintain regular posts. Banks and CUs don’t have the luxury of abandoning their social media efforts for months at a time.

 

Footnote 2: I’ve been trying to figure out a way to toss this social media story into the “Internets” since I heard it in the fall of 2011 at a banking conference.  I didn’t figure out a seamless way to work it into the above post so here it is on its own in the footnotes area.

I saw a panel of bank social media experts talk about their experience with social media.  At the end of the panel discussion, an attendee asked the panel, “How do you address the question of ROI?”

The first participant to speak said, “How do you measure the ROI of a hug? Because that’s what we’re doing out there on twitter.”

Holy crap? Really? Banking may need a softer image but it’s not going to be about hugs and unicorns.

About Mark Zmarzly: Mark Zmarzly is VP of Financial Services at ACTON Marketing, and an accomplished marketing, business development, banking, and creative professional with demonstrated success solving customer acquisition, marketing, and profitability problems. He has worked with financial institutions from 1 branch up to 1,700+ branches in the areas of marketing, copywriting, account management, consulting, teaching, social media, and business development. You can find his insights on issues facing the financial industry at www.ihelpbanks.com and on Twitter @BankMarketing. You can also connect with him at http://www.linkedin.com/in/markzmarzly

Written by Mark Zmarzly

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