• Social Media Marketing is Like Going to the Gym

    I overheard someone I work with making an analogy about the gym and social media effectiveness. So often we hear people struggling with how to manage the return of their social media efforts. Sometimes I struggle when an  IT vendor says, “I can’t spend time or money on social media until I can get exact ROI.”  (Hmmm, I wonder what is the ROI on the beautiful fountain outside the HQ that costs $150,000 a year to run.)

    Oftentimes I believe that IT marketers think social media marketing is like a gumball machine where they see an immediate return. They set up and run a program on Facebook, LinkedIn or Spiceworks and then leave it alone.  They are left wondering why they didn’t get a lot of followers or engagement. In their mind they got nothing back.

    IT marketers seem to be so focused on the ROI of a one-time ad, web page or action, that they actually miss ( ironically) hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of opportunities because they don’t see that social media is “ongoing” engagement. They forget that you need to “go to” the buyers first, provide them value, and spend time with them before they may take action.

    Here is a conversation between me and the fitness professionals at my local gym earlier this week:

    Client: “Hey it’s Kenny Madden here. I joined your gym three months ago and I just weighed myself. I have in fact loss zero pounds since I signed my membership. I want to cancel my membership right now.  Where the heck are my lost pounds? I am paying you guys $35 a month and I want  my weight down or else.  What are you going to do about it?”

    Gym Rep: “ Sir, I understand that you are upset but let me check our records and I will see what we can do.  Yes, I see you started your membership with us  four months ago but you have not actually come into the gym yet.”

    Client: “So what! What has that got to do with anything? I paid you some serious money and I want to lose those pounds. I was told every dollar of membership would help me lose five pounds a month.  I am not sure what your trying to pull here but I don’t like what I am hearing!”

    Gym Rep: “Sir I appreciate that you are busy and upset because of your lack of weight loss but I assure you, we see great results when our clients actually come into the gym, work out, use the pool, get to know folks in the gym and start working at building relationships within the confines of the gym.   I have actually seen several members who come in once a week.”

    Client: “This is ridiculous, I paid you the money so I wouldn’t have to do any of that stuff. I don’t have the time or resources for that. In fact I am thinking about hiring several other people to go and do my exercising for me instead of giving the money to you guys.”

    Gym Rep: “Sir, I think you will find you have to actually come here you to lose weight, stay for the long term, set small incremental goals, make sure you are the right gym and you can develop a program that will achieve all your goals.”

    Client: “Hmm I will get back to you.”

    • Engage
    • Put some roots down and stay for the long term
    • Understand who your buyers are and where they live, work and play
    • Do so and not only will people follow you and respond to your campaigns, they will purchase your products – And that is the best ROI a brand can get.

    Kenny Madden works in market development at Austin based Spiceworks, the fastest growing IT social business network. By combining free IT management software with a Facebook-like community, Spiceworks helps over 1.6 million IT professionals to discover, buy and manage $260 billion worth of technology products and services each year.  Kenny can be reached at kenny@spiceworks.com.

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