Dilbert – really Scott Adams through Dilbert – has a knack for depicting professions as they are seen by many inside and outside the business world.
Often those depictions are a little bit exaggerated, maybe a lot in the minds of those feeling the bullseye, who might respond with a pained chuckle when asked to respond to the comic section skewering.
The reality is that too often Adams’ hits the target, or at least too close for the comfort of those targeted.
Dilbert on Social Media Consultants
Dilbert truly hits home for many of us who have listened to social media experts (most self-proclaimed) expound on the chase for the Facebook likes, Twitter followers, YouTube views and the many other countable items too often used to denote successful social media implementation.
To be fair, consultants often struggle with the need to provide metrics for clients who make decisions based on numbers. Showing how many people clicked a button in their smartphone app or webpage makes good fodder for counting. Besides, it’s often easy and inexpensive to build those numbers by giving something away in exchange for those clicks.
What business people are seeking is a way to determine whether their social media program is contributing to sales and thus profits, which is difficult for most social marketing programs.
Showing Social Media’s Value to Business
While many business executives accepted the like, follow or view and having an inherent value, especially those pursuing social media as a must because “in” companies or key competitors were doing it, the tide is turning.
Executives with profit responsibility still want to see a contribution to that profit from investments made by the business, which leaves many still struggling with justification of social media programs. In this way social media is not unlike past struggles with valuing advertising on television, radio and through other media.
What many in executive suites are starting to understand better is the value of social media in the engagement of customers and prospective customers, an activity that has long been seen as key to business success.
Clicking “Like” is not Engagement
Clicking the like button a Facebook page is no guarantee that the clicker will ever read or act upon another piece of the liked business’s content nor purchase its product or service. The same is true of Twitter follows, YouTube views or equivalent actions on the other social networks. In fact, liking your Facebook page doesn’t even ensure someone will see your future posts.
Social media contribution to business success comes when customers act upon the company’s social media presence. That action may start by posting a comment on or sharing a Facebook post or YouTube video, re-tweeting a “tweet” on Twitter, or one of many other actions. It might be something as simple as checking out the company’s product on their website or in a retail store.
When the customers actions result in a purchase, either by that customer or someone else, then social media has contributed to the business’s profitability. That purchase doesn’t have to be the result of only the social media interaction to contribute to profitability, just as seeing a company’s television commercial or watching a celebrity using the product doesn’t have to be the sole decision criteria in order to have a meaningful impact.
When approached by social media consultants, ask what they consider to be the measure of success for their work – how they demonstrate value to clients. Are they the ones being depicted in this Dilbert?