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The ROI of social media is survival

If you’re a huge brand, there are tools out there to help you measure the ROI of your social media efforts.  For smaller businesses, though, it can be much more difficult.  Perhaps it’s worth $700 per tweet, but it’s rarely that consistent. 🙂

More and more, the ROI of social media is simply that your business will continue to exist.  For example, if I asked you for the ROI on your business phone, your response would likely be “Who knows, but we obviously need to have a phone!”.  And you’re right!  The same goes for social tools; customers fully expect you to have a presence on social networks to help them find answers to their questions and hopefully to encourage them to come in for a visit.

Below are three example of businesses near me that have closed in the past year, and I feel that a lack of social media presence contributed to the demise of each of them.  A bad business will go under no matter how well they tweet, so perhaps these companies were doomed anyhow.  However, I think a bit of effort in the social world would have helped all three tremendously.


I loved Bellacino’s.  They featured “grinders” and pizza, and it was quite tasty.  They’d put coupons in some of those coupon packs that you get in the mail, but that was about as far as they went.  Their lack of social media simply meant that they were rarely in the front of our mind.  I had no real desire to “connect” with them necessarily, but if their coupons had been on Facebook I would have gladly hooked up with them on there.  If I had done so, perhaps they would have appeared in my feed from time and time and we probably would have gone in more often.

They went out of business around a year ago.

Stadium Bar & Grill

Stadium was simply made for social media, and they simply ignored it.  The restaurant did all kinds of fun activities, like trivia night and local music, but did a pitiful job of presenting it online.  For about 18 months their Facebook page had a total of one update that said something like “check back often for special events and coupons!”.  Great idea, but no execution.  They eventually started updating more often, but hadn’t built up a fan base of any kind and didn’t have enough time to build a presence.

I emailed a few of the owners to offer to help them out (for free, even), and never got a response.  They went out of business last month.

Rita’s Italian Ice

Rita’s was a place that served frozen ice, kind of like slushies.  It was really good!  Every day they’d have a different selection of flavors, which meant it was a perfect opportunity for social media.  Before I’d run out there to get treats for the family, my girls would always ask what flavors they had today.  Because of their lack of Facebook and Twitter updates, I’d have to call.  It was painful.  The poor girl answering the phone was typically trying to help a customer in the store at the time, while she’d be reading me a list of flavors that I’d be frantically writing down.  It was stupid.

With them, not only did I offer to help but I even took the time to set up a Twitter account for them, brand it, and show them how to use it.  Rather than updating daily with the flavors, they’d update it maybe once a month.  Useless.  I got tired of calling, so the only time we’d go is if the whole family was out together so that everyone could pick their own flavor.

They went out of business six months ago.

How do you do it right?

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt

It’s not all bad news, though.  We have a local frozen yogurt shop called Menchie’s that is simply amazing on Facebook.  They’re just a little store in a strip mall and they have over 1200 fans on Facebook!  If you look at their page you’ll see why — tons of updates, coupons, interaction with every user, and just a great job of connecting with their customers.

It’s not rocket science; in fact, it’s quite simple.  The issue is that it takes time to do it right, and you need to commit to it.  I have no idea who runs the Menchie’s page (the owner, perhaps?), but they put the time into it to do it right.  As a result, they’re getting more customers through the door.

It’s no guarantee

I’m certainly not saying that this is a guarantee that your business will flourish.  Those other three stores still might have gone out of business, and Menchie’s might be gone in a year.  Ultimately, you still need to provide a great product at a great price and treat people right when they come in the door.

I can promise this, though: in all four cases above, social media was a distinct factor for bringing people into the business (or failing to), which is huge.

You’ll notice that all four examples are food related, and that was intentional — social media was seemingly made for restaurants, so if you’re still wondering if “that Twitter thing might catch on”, you need to get in gear now!  If you need help getting started, just get in touch with me and I’ll be happy to help.

About the Author

Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

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