“These days man knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing.” ~Oscar Wilde
I will be the first to admit, I’m a pretty lucky guy. My interest in social media has allowed me to be surrounded by some of the brightest minds in the industry and as a result, inspires me to keep pace in this rapidly evolving industry. One of the thoughts I obsess over is understanding the true value of social media.
Not so much in a numbers & statistical sense, but in a much deeper level. After all, how does one accurately come to determine the ROI of inspiration? Try as I might, I find it nearly impossible to attribute a meaningful statistic to the amounts of inspiration I’ve gained throughout the years. Add to that the value of the relationships that were borne out of these interactions. As MasterCard would say: Priceless.
In no way am I trying to devalue measurable analytics or statistics, those bits of information are valuable and necessary, too. But focusing on numbers alone, we lose sight of the multidimensional nature of social media and reap only a portion of the benefits. It’s similar to buying the latest and greatest smartphone on the market and only using it for texting. There’s so much more that remains untapped and the full potential of the tool is unrealized.
A situation arose last week in which I was one of many unwitting recipients of a bogus limited quantity offer from Southwest Airlines for 2 free tickets. Upon clicking on the offer on Facebook, it was clear that the offer was not legitimate. I noticed that shortly after clicking on the link, it automatically sent out the same offer to everyone on my Facebook friends list. It goes without saying that this raised more than just a few red flags. After profusely explaining & apologizing to my friends for the inadvertent status update, I reached out to Southwest to let them know of what I had just experienced. Within less than 5 minutes, I received a tweet from them acknowledging what just happened and what actions they were taking. It was simple, yet impactful. This is not rocket science.
Brands adopting social media successfully understand that it is a tool allowing them to really get to know their consumers. These are brands who have figured out that the best use of social media is to give consumers a highly responsive channel to interact with their favorite brand. The imaginative use of social media to build relationships and reach consumers as they like to be reached is at the heart of a successful brand’s new media marketing strategy.
Companies will focus less on promoting products & services, and more on how to best inspire & empower consumers.
The question of valuation is a personal one, as much of it is determined based on individual perception. When I think of my personal choices and why I gravitate towards certain brands, I find myself looking at the intrinsic value that the brand offers. How do they come across? Is their main social activity pitching and promoting or are they more concerned with opening up lines of communication? Are they talking more about the company or their consumers?
Whether we admit to it or not, we still base many of our decisions emotionally. All else being equal, we’d still rather do business with people we like and trust. To me, that is the value businesses should be focusing on when adopting social media. And when it comes to quantifying emotions and perceptions, good luck with that.
What value do you place on social media?