Social media is a powerful education, customer service and sales tool. For years traditional marketing measured ROI (return on investment) through ad buys, print brochure distribution numbers and bottom-line sales. Social Media’s built-in analytics gives us opportunities to measure ROI in a granularity similar to digital advertisement methods like Google Adwords, online advertising and website conversion tracking. These opportunities benefit from a sales team’s willingness to utilize Social as a sales tool. In the Altimeter Group’s infographic “The Six Stages of Social Business Transformation”, stage five; “Become a Social Business” is described as “Social Across Business Units” which includes departments across the organization.

Every time a sales rep is on a sales call, visiting a client or drafting an email it’s an opportunity to talk about your brand’s social media. If you use a CRM tool like SalesForce, try generating a report showing the sales leaders the amount of new sales activity originating from Social. This is possible when you have a customer service team, social media professional and sales rep who understands the strength of tagging sales activities with an identifier. Something as basic as “Social Media” in the sales notes, or a more granular description like “Twitter” or “Facebook” will help any marketing professional show ROI.

I was recently in touch with one of my colleagues outside the U.S. about her impact on our social media channels. We had an email thread going discussing local translation for some social media content and the topic of local fan numbers came up. I remember telling her: “Do you realize how quickly our fan base is growing in your country!?” She replied saying: “I knew it had to be, I’m talking about social media at every consumer event, added the social media icons to my email signature and talk about it with professionals regularly!” Where I currently work we are even able to track inquiries on social media originating from her region which she can mature into an actual sale, thus growing the business That’s ROI folks.

If you’re a one-man marketing professional or a team of marketers and have had a difficult time getting social media buy-in from leaders, try creating cheerleaders out of your sales people by showing them the impact of their activities on social media. One thing most sales people will agree on is the pay-off of being patient. I recommend looking into publishing tools like SproutSocial for engagement, publishing, channel analytics reporting and even tasking of sales or support inquiries. You will be surprised with how ROI comes organically, demonstrating the importance of Social and hopefully creating a company-wide desire for social engagement.
Frankly Speaking: Get buy-in early from your colleagues so they recognize the opportunities from social media and then validate their buy-in with data!