“Free” puppies are deceptively cute. They may be easy to take home on a whim, especially if you have a persistent child who “must have that puppy.” However, like most things in life, they are not free. After taking home your “free” puppy a significant amount of time and money must be in invested in caring for the puppy. In fact, this blog calculated the cost of a “free” puppy is actually $649.
In the same way, social media tools are not “free”. While companies may be tempted to go on Twitter or Facebook simply because of perceived low barriers to entry, they must do so with a clear understanding of the real business investment. Obvious investment areas include the people who will manage your social activities as well as training staff in understanding how to most effectively use these tools. However, the biggest investment is actually in a clear business case.
This business case should answer at least three questions:
- 1) Brand Impact: How will your social activities enhance your brand story?
- 2) Customer Impact: How will it build your understanding of customers needs or enhance your relationship with existing customers ?
- 3) Investment Return: How will you measure the business impact?
I am especially thankful for Jeff Gerst, Director of Client Services at Spyder Trap for bringing this “free” puppy concept to my attention at last month’s Life Science Alley Community Breakfast. After a follow up conversation with Jeff, I was pleased to hear Spyder Trap has a track record of building effective social business cases. To learn more, check out this strong work they did for a jewelry brand called Chamilia. I especially appreciate the fact they started with a focus on driving sales through activating Chamilia’s audience and designed their engagement accordingly.
Just as there are no “free” puppies there are no “free” social tools. When using these tools companies must be aware of the required investments and develop a clear business case that justifies that investment. Furthermore, leaders must continually review the business impact of social media tools and adjust accordingly.
Image Source: Puppy vs Toddler Blog Post