Is Twitter giving you a ROI?

For the past week or so I’ve been paying attention to our Twitter account and making a few posts a day with a mix of some personal stuff and some business stuff that others might find of value (I love promoting our clients when they are having a sale or a new product launch). I have to admit, I’ve been hesitant getting on the “social networking” fad. Yes, I’m calling it a fad because everything must settle down at some point and this holds no exception. People will lose interest and abandon their accounts for the next fad that will come their way, that’s simply the nature of the Internet beast.

For a long time I was struggling with the value of Tweeting and Linkd-ing and Facebook-ing etc – it was hard for me to justify the amount of time spent on all the social networking sites without a tangible return on the investment made into them.I do hear of some success stories, but they seem to be far and few between? But then again, look at Oprah now being on Twitter and how Obama used social networking to help win the recent US Presidential election – clearly a success story there!

Many business entrepreneurs fail to realize how valuable their time is. For instance, many are far more willing to do everything themselves in order to save some money instead of hiring an expert to do it for them. In reality they have wasted their own valuable time NOT being able to work on their business and focus on their core competencies while they struggle with an area they hold little knowledge or expertise. Same with social networking, even though it may seem like they wouldn’t be doing anything else anyway, they spend their time social networking (did I mention how addictive it can be too?), but in reality if they spent some of that valuable time working ON their business, who knows what would happen? Yes, I agree, it can be argued that participating in the social networking scene IS a form of working on a business and thus the reason for my “fence sitting”.

From my perspective, I see a lot of value in the social networking sites in terms of visibility, brand enhancing, building relationships and getting known as an expert in your industry – all very valuable achievements as long as you have a solid understanding of how to do this effectively and efficiently.

So the key is then, to allocate your time wisely and only put in enough time to achieve your goals and then move on to other business building efforts. I think it all boils down to balance – there’s nothing wrong with social networking, but spending hours a day at it is a waste of valuable time in my humble opinion.

What are your thoughts? Are you getting a return on your time investment with social networking? I’d love to hear what you think!

Sue

oh, and since I’m on the subject,  follow us on Twitter!

  • I totally agree with your post. I am still exploring how I will use social media and getting ready to “get my feet wet”. I do realize that it is so much like traditional networking really.
    It is important to take an interest in others and build relationships … not be self focused.
    Givers gain, as they say. I think it requires patience and I also agree that one must be disciplined with the time spent on social media… that being said, I can see getting addicted too.

  • David

    This was a very good and honest post and analysis. I am very much on the fence about social networking and would like to know if anyone can be honest about how many actual sales or sales of services they have received from Twitter, Face Book or any other social media site. Also have many signed up for newsletters or your email sign ups? I believe in a very balanced approach for marketing and sometimes I see these new avenues as more of a numbers game with users. Of course, numbers are not a bad thing but I am very concerned on the ROI as time is a very valuable asset. I understand the passion that many user have for this type of marketing and media but I would love some real honest replies about the actual growth their business had in sales and revenue from Twitter. I am not talking about the larger entities either but the small entrepreneurs whose time is so valuable?

    I have not joined Twitter but have been lurking around to see if it was worth my ROI. I also found this Nielson study a few months back

    http://www.internetnews.com/webcontent/article.php/3817946/Is+Twitter+a+Fad+Nielsen+Says+It+Just+Might+Be.htm

  • Rod

    I agree that this is a fad but I would not totally dismiss this medium. There is a great benefit for many companies in branding and promotion. I do find it quite humorous that many just feel that automatic following and attracting followers is seemingly a number competition. How could one literally market, work and read 10,000 followers. I read a interesting survey and I agree that it is a fad but will be around in some form or another for quite some time; http://www.ragan.com/ME2/Audiences/dirmod.asp?sid=&nm=&type=MultiPublishing&mod=PublishingTitles&mid=5AA50C55146B4C8C98F903986BC02C56&tier=4&id=25399172AD2943E9A2042190420727AB&AudID=3FF14703FD8C4AE98B9B4365B978201A

  • Lynn

    To also agree that there is both a use for these networks and that they are a fad. The problem with any medium is that there are those that will abuse them for their own game and therefore diminish the credibility. The last thing anyone wants is less ROI for your time. Wading through and deleting spam is one more time waster I do not need on my plate. Good thread going on here:
    Twitter Spam
    http://blogs.msdn.com/tzink/archive/2009/07/10/it-turns-out-that-twitter-spam-is-possible.aspx

For a long time I was struggling with the value of Tweeting and Linkd-ing and Facebook-ing etc – it was hard for me to justify the amount of time spent on all the social networking sites without a true return on the investment made into them.