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Code Red: Social Media ROI Rant


Editor’s Note:  This post on social media ROI from 2011 is made up of equal parts of humor, sarcasm and frustration.  Not necessarily in that order. 

We live in a world that has no walls.  Where market conversations start and end with relationships built on trust.

Who’s gonna do it? You, Mr. Executive?

We social media advocates have greater responsibility than most companies can possibly fathom.  There’s an internet filled with PR crisises caused by social media gaffes. They weep for Kenneth Cole and curse the Trust Agents.

We do not have that luxury. We have the misfortune of knowing what they refuse to believe: That engage is fuel for business. And our existence, while fraught with tedious, redundant, never-ending arguments about social media ROI, probably adds value to business.

They don’t want the truth because in deep down places they don’t talk about social media at parties.  We don’t need walls, we need to tear down the silos.  We use words like trust, authenticity and relationships.  We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something:  the corporate reputation. They use them as a punchline.

We have neither the time nor the inclination to explain ourselves to someone who rises and sleeps under the blanket of engagement that we provide, and then questions the manner in which we provide it.

We can spend countless hours measuring, proving, analyzing…or we can spend that time adding value, making connections and building trust…that leads to leads and sales.

It’s a soft sell.   But don’t confuse our conversational approach with our nerve.  We are not soft.

We would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way.  Alternatively, you could explain the ROI of putting your pants on in the morning.  Otherwise, we suggest you start managing a Twitter handle or observe from on a listening post. You’d be surprised what you might learn.

Since you fund the venture, we certainly give a damn what you think you are entitled to.  But please, let us do our jobs, or let us go.  The constant battle over ROI is stale.

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ROI: Is Marketing Getting Harder or Easier?

Photo credit: Flickr, robin.hodson, Code Red (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Frank Strong, MA, MBA
Frank Strong, MA, MBA

Haha! Thanks Krista. It's one of my favorite movies and Jack does a great job in it - the bad guy you love. As far as social media, indeed, sadly, it seems sometimes we are stuck between people who are yet to adopt it and those that would deny it. I really believe social media, including the larger online space, are changing how we market, perhaps even the definition of marketing. Glad you liked the post!


Wow, I think this post gave me goosebumps! Great job summarizing the many frustrations social media advocates experience. I have to remind myself that not everyone may get it like I do, nor be as enthusiastic as me about the potential with social media. I also remind myself that patience is a virtue. At least I'm not alone!

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