My biggest obstacle

Explaining my value.

This is a tricky one.  How do you get someone to pay you for a service they need but don't know how to quantify the value of?  In other words, how do you tell someone, "you need me, and you should pay me" in a world that doesn't yet accept that social media marketing is a measurable investment.

When small businesses consider putting money into their social media presence (by hiring on managers or consultants like myself), the biggest question they ask themselves is, “what will my return on investment look like?”

To put it simply: your return on investment for social media is so much more than just getting someone to click on your post and then make a purchase.  While that is a traditional way of looking at ROI, the social approach to ROI looks more like this: You post multiple valuable social media posts.  Those posts could be information on a topic you care or know a lot about, or simply you showing a product or service you find joy or passion in.  Personal posts showing your thoughts or feelings are valuable too.  Places you seek out, ideas you rely upon to get you through your day, songs you’re listening to on repeat, etc.  Over time, users grow to know, like and trust you.  Eventually, they start to give the products and services you are touting and using the same level of trust.  They might make a purchase.  Or some product, service or idea you share could be noticed and picked up by a brand authority who sees it, shares it with their followers and you get the exposure to a new audience.

Social media ROI isn’t as cut and dry as you might think, and it’s certainly not as clean and directly measurable as traditional ROI.  However, the return you get from social media networks can be just as great, if not better, than traditional marketing channels.  

Don’t get wrapped up in the concern that social media ROI is unmeasurable.  It actually is measurable - as measurable as you want it to be.  Measuring social media brand awareness and success through metrics such as likes, shares, retweets, etc. is valuable and one method of measurement.  To me, the key in measuring social media ROI is setting goals for what you want to achieve (and how and when).  These goals will create measurable metrics for seeing how your social media efforts pay off.  Just keep in mind that these metrics are typically more complex and indirect than measuring ad clicks and conversion rates.  They’re driven by your personal business goals, and therefore all social media marketing strategies are unique to each client. 

And that, I believe, is invaluable.