ROI in Social Media

So I’m back and boy has it been busy. I know that many of you enjoyed the 30 day project and thank you for all your support. I now am doing a 40 day project where I am attempting to write 5 pages a day for the next 40 days to finish my book, Get It Right Social. Wish me luck. This is happening with a group that I belong to called highachievers we are taking this journey and it is founded on the book The Ripple Effect by Doug Grady. I’ll let you know how it goes.

So ROI (Return on Investment) in Social Media.

Social Media

There has been a lot of talk lately online and elsewhere about “Does social media work?”. What does it do for our bottom line? Seems like this conversation has been going on forever but businesses are now trying to fit Social Media into a business model that generates income. Because at the end of the day all businesses are in business to make money, right?

According to a recent article by Kim Garst on The Huffington Post “Facebook vs. Twitter: The Battle for Social Media Dominance”  Kim states “…So many businesses are looking for an immediate ROI that they are not looking beyond this to the real value of building a connected community through the power of social media.”

When did businesses start forgetting about where the money comes from? We have a key learning concept in the Elite Consulting that we do for a Fortune 500 company and its stated like this:

Individuals make buying decisions. Companies and committees do not.

Social Media’s biggest ROI is in building trust and loyalty from the individuals that you interact with in Social Media. It is the companies obligation to determine what platform their audience is on and focus on those platforms in building trust and loyalty in order for them to buy their products or services.

So the ROI is the individual so here is a quick way to determine ROI. Determine the amount of money that each customer represents to your business. This can be an individual or a business (because remember individuals make buying decisions; companies and committees do not) so businesses are made up of individuals. Then determine how many customers you need to make your quarter or year. Then look at your active engagement of individuals on social media and then if you know your closing ratio you can determine if Social Media is giving you the ROI that you are looking for.

Social Media takes longer than your normal advertising campaign on traditional media to see the ROI because you have to build trust with the individual. Think of it like this. The first time you went on a date you didn’t ask the person to marry you, or sleep with you (ok you might have asked that) but chances are the answer to both questions on the first date would have been NO. So give it time. You have to build trust and you can do that by asking your audience to immediately buy your services. You have to give them information that adds value to their daily lives before you can ask them to buy something.

Audience is king. They are determining the next generation of technology, innovation and yes how you get to sell your services or products. So don’t ignore the INDIVIDUAL when it comes to determining your ROI!

0006t (1)Les Adkins is the CEO of Orange SMS Consulting and an International Social Business Strategist, speaker, consultant and author. Bringing strategy and whole brain thinking to creative campaigns and social media through his work. Also two-time Tough Mudder finisher. Please follow @mysylbert and connect on LinkedIn Join us on FB and Google+ as well.


It’s Been Too Long! How is your New Year Starting Socially?

Life is a wonderful teacher….Unfortunately she has a habit of killing all of her students!

So how is everyone doing? I know it has been awhile since the last time I have blogged. I hope you are following me on Twitter or are connected to me another way; Google +, LinkedIn, FB page. I hope that in some way we are connected. If not what are you waiting for?

Well it’s been a crazy beginning to the new year and a lot has happened. Those of you who went with me on my 30 day journey I hope that it added value to your lives and gave you real help in improving your business and reaching your personal goals.

I have been absent in blogging for way too long. Two months. This is one time that it is worth repeating “Do as I say, not as I do!” In order to keep your branding out there you need to continue reaching out to your audience and continue building up trust.

In the next several months I am going to be completing my book and I am asking for your help in keeping me on the right track. I will be putting exerts of the upcoming book on here and I really would like to hear your comments. I will also be adding some valuable advice on social (media) and where it is going and also sharing some thoughts from colleagues and friends about how things are changing with Social and Mobile Engagement.

So for those of you who only follow my blog, my sincere apologies. Please keep connecting with me in other ways as I am more apt to stay in touch with quick posts on a regular basis.

Here’s to living the Life you Were Born To Live! This is my own personal mantra for 2012.

Les Adkins is the CEO of  Orange SMS Consulting and an International Social Media Strategist, speaker, consultant and author. Bringing strategy and whole brain thinking to creative campaigns and social media through his work. Please follow @mysylbert and connect on LinkedIn

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Day 12: Live To Learn

So on Day 12 I remembered a concept that I had heard ever since childhood from my Mother who had started a nursing school in Anderson, IN, was a professor at Marshall University (yes the one they made the movie about in Huntington, WV) and then started an Allied Health and Nursing Program at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, NE. Oh and she went back to school to get her PhD in Adult Education my father also got his Doctor of Divinity degree as well. So the motto was “Live to Learn”.

 Both my parents were well into their adult lives and had high school and college age children when they got their Doctorate Degrees. So I come from a family of “continual learners”.

This is why I went back to school to get my MBA in 2008.

Brad Sugar founder of “Action Coach”  stated at one of his events, and I’m paraphrasing, that by reading 1 business book a week, you can become an expert in any business subject you choose and have the same knowledge of most MBA students after a year.

Recently I came across a great blog “Business Insider”   who had an article written by Bianca Male and Aimee Goth that was titled “…21 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read”  I’d like to add to this list:

“Trust Agent” by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

“Empowered” by Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler

“Good to Great” by Jim Collins (also check out his other books)

“4-Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferris

There are also several programs and courses that you can take online to continue learning in the subject that you are interested in.

If you stop learning you stop expanding your mind and then your imagination.  So go ahead and “Live to Learn”! Whether you work for someone or yourself!

The day we stop learning should be the day we die. In order for you to stay ahead of the rest and live outside of the “Comfort Zone” be sure to continue “Living to  Learn”!

I see baby’s cry, I watch them grow, They’ll learn much more, than I’ll ever know, And I think to myself, what a wonderful world -Louis Armstrong ‘What a Wonderful World’

Les Adkins is the CEO of  Orange SMS Consulting and an International Social Media Strategist, speaker, consultant and author. Bringing strategy and whole brain thinking to creative campaigns and social media through his work. Please follow @mysylbert and connect on LinkedIn


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Social Media Expert?

      So is there such a thing as a “Social Media Expert”? Lately I have been seeing a lot about this subject on the group “Social Media Today” on LinkedIn  and Google +. As well as several other blogs. Yesterday I was in a meeting where I was called a “Social Media Expert” several times but I do not consider myself an expert, just someone who has been working with Social Media for over 6 years and understands how to make it work and also I keep my eyes on what’s new and what the new trends are.

I don’t believe anyone can be an expert on Social Media or any industry for that matter unless you keep learning about the industry and the changes that happen within that industry.  When I first started working in Social Media I used to love to ask people who said they knew all about Social Media if they had heard of Second Life and Kaneva. Most said no, so that told me something.

For those of you who don’t know they are virtual worlds that allow individuals to interact in a social way using an avatar and many businesses are using this as well.

Here is what I wanted to say. I have seen many lists and many opinions on what to look for when looking for a Social Media Strategist or so-called “Expert”. I agree whole heartedly with most of these but I have one big question.

How are the people who are deciding what’s on these lists coming up with the information. Yes it needs to work, it needs to be more than how to create a FB (Facebook) page, and it needs to be a part of a holistic strategy. But who is right?

One of the big ones I see all the time is that if you have 1008 followers on Twitter and you follow 1010 people this is a flag that you may not be a social media ex… But I have to ask the question, does having a large following on Twitter make you an expert or does what you communicate to that audience, no matter the size of the audience, matter more?

I have been thinking about this for a while and just wanted to state that just because someone thinks that you have to be a certain way in order to be a Social Media Expert doesn’t mean that you should let them have the last word. You should pick consultants and firms to help you with your Social Media based on your relationship with them, their knowledge of social media overall, their knowledge of integrating it into your current business processes and (here comes a big one) – helps you build trust and affects behavior with the social media strategy and implementation you are, or plan on doing.

See, couldn’t help myself, had to give my own opinion. But keep in mind that this is a young industry and remember that the “Experts” used to state without a doubt in their mind with many measurable results that the “World was Flat”. This was a common and accepted thought for years. So the next time you see a list (and I have some out there) or someone stating how to pick a Social Media Expert just keep in mind that it might be a good idea to think that it is just their opinion.

The World is not Flat it is round but we did not figure that out until one man overcame this old thought which was prevalent in the first half of the 20th century. Not that long ago. So lighten up out there on what you think or don’t think a Social Media Expert is.

Les Adkins is the CEO of  Orange SMS Consulting and a Social Media Strategist, speaker, consultant and author. Bringing strategy and whole brain thinking to creative campaigns and social media through his work. Please follow @mysylbert and connect on LinkedIn


Join us on FB as well

How to Pick a Strong Social Media Consultant

So there have been so many people I have met lately who claim to do “Social Media Consulting” that I thought it was a good time to refresh your memory about how to pick a strong Social Media Consultant. So whether you use “Orange SMS Consulting” or someone else you need to make sure you are picking the right one.

Beth Harte and Geoff Livingston wrote a blog  titled “25 Signs You’ve Got a Strong SM Consultant or Agency” So we will be going over these signs this week 5 at a time:

One of the things they say in this blog that is worth repeating on day one is “…Social media communications is still a really new industry, and there are no silver bullet experts or methodologies.” Even today it is still a relatively new industry even 2 years after this blog was written in 2009. These qualifiers are still relevant and if you are missing many of these with your potential partner then you should have a few red flags pop up.

OK, and on we go:

“1. Believes in the generous web and practices cross-linking in their blog.”  

This means that they share other practices such as marketing and other web campaigns in their blogs as part of an overall strategy regarding Social Media.

“2. Highlights others’ work in their blog.”  

A great example of this is Chris Brogan’s Blog who I quote quite often. I am a strong advocate of his book “Trust Agents”. I met Chris and he is a genuine person and SM advocate.  Another quick thought on this topic is that most true SM Consultants don’t look at others’ as competitors, if they are doing it right, but rather a team effort to make sure SM (Social Media) is being delivered in the right way and with the right value add to the audience.

“3. Integrates social media as part of larger marketing strategies”

This is becoming more important for larger and smaller organizations. It can’t be one or the other it needs to be part of an overall strategy. The original blog uses Razorfish as an example of this.  Most strong SM Consultants have partners that can create larger marketing strategies or help connect SM to an already dynamic marketing strategy that the organization currently has.

“4. Doesn’t pretend to be an expert in all things digital; instead focuses on what he/she/they do best.”

A good example of this is Barbara Giamanco as She incorporates social media for sales.

“5. Gives away best practices in an effort to educate, grow social media in general”

Anyone not providing best practices as part of their blog or conversation is probably not a Strong Social Media Consultant.

This is the first 5 of 25 so come  back tomorrow to see the next 5.

I am not against consultants making a living, and by the way I am one, but make sure you pick the best one for your organization. It is usually the Consultant that you have built a relationship with and Trust!

Les Adkins, CEO

Orange SMS Consulting

The Medium is the Message

So from the same Blog “The Daily Dose” by Mikal E. Belicove comes the next Lie of Social Media Marketing.

“Just because it’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace or some other newfangled online or mobile-powered platform, the message still carries more weight than the medium. It’s always been about the message. It’s not about the platform or the technology. The technology is just a tool, and just because younger people were the first to use Twitter and Facebook, don’t think for a moment that older employees can’t effectively use them just as well.”

IT’S NOT ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY!!!! Ok sorry to yell, but just wanted to make this point loud and clear.  As we discussed whether or not Size Matters yesterday we discovered that quality of followers and likes weigh out over size.  You want to convert these followers to become loyal to your brand or buy something but first you need to add value. The message is where you add value and begin the process of building trust. The message  is more important than the medium especially in Social Media.

The hard thing that is being felt by businesses and organizations is allowing others to comment on the message. This means they must take the good with the bad. The  adage is that one dissatisfied customer would lead to the loss of 100 customers and you would never know. Now you can satisfy a customer before the loss by responding directly to their comment. This does not mean you have to accept what they say but now you can have a dialogue and sometimes people just want to know that they are being heard.

I speak with companies about creating a message with “Whole Brain Advantage” this is a scientifically researched methodology created in the 60’s by Ned Herrmann to determine thinking preference. It remains relevant even more so today.  I could write pages on this topic alone but for this subject  it is a way to  help you create a message based on your entire audience’s thinking preferences. How cool would that be for you if you could reach and affect your whole audience? How would that help your bottom line?

All that to say that the message is much more important than the medium. So whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your website, or any number of platforms,  what you say is more important than what technology you use or how it looks. And don’t forget that your audience must be able to respond to your message.

CEO, Orange SMS Consulting

Size Matters!

This week we are going to discuss the “5 Lies of Social Media Marketing”. I came across a great blog by Mikal E. Belicove “The Daily Dose”  that had this as a title and I thought that it was worth repeating and expanding on. So this week I decided to go through the 5 and give my own take as well as the original from Mikal.

1. Size Matters! “Many small businesses equate the number of ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ on branded social-media platforms to success, not realizing that it’s the quality of those likes and followers that is important. More people signing up to view your message doesn’t necessarily equate an increase in sales or even a bump in long-term or sustainable brand recognition.” Mikal Belicove

I could not agree with Mikal more. It seems as if everyone is bragging on their numbers lately. ION Television is announcing that they have over 150,000 followers on their Facebook page and thanking everyone, but I would love to see the Nielsen ratings of how often those followers are viewing their programs and more importantly to a channel like ION paying attention to the commercials.

Creating a Facebook Page and Twitter Account just for your marketing message misses the point of Social Media and that is to build trust in the community where your audience is. And add value to your audience. What is the key here? Knowing who your audience is.

So many blogs have been written about Trust and Joining the Conversation with your Audience that it is worth linking these two words with previous blogs. Just google these two words and you will get millions of hits.

The point is that it is the quality of your message and the effect on behavior that counts as opposed to the size of your following or likes. Keep this in mind the next time you hear a business or someone bragging about the number of followers or likes they have on Social Media.

Les Adkins, CEO Orange SMS Consulting

How To Get People To Trust You!

This seems to be the biggest mystery of the universe. Oh don’t get me wrong, there are people out there that can give you a zillion ways; techniques and tricks to do this but how do you manage to gain trust in today’s society? If you google “How to get trust” you will get over 430 million results. Thought this was  pretty good from Forbes “In Pictures: Nine Ways To Get Someone To Trust You” There are books, video series, CD’s, MP3’s on “How to Build Trust” so you can find these things if you’re looking.

But most of us know this already; right? Maybe not. So how do you build Trust in a World that seems untrustworthy? I heard something at a network meeting today that made me write on this subject. They said that people buy from those they like and trust. I would agree but I would say that now in order for someone to buy from you they need to trust you, have a relationship with you and then like you. Semantics right, wrong.

The world used to be built on tell me you have the greatest product or service and the best price and I as a consumer or business would buy. But now a days through technology I can find your dirty laundry if you’re lying.

Today it is all about transparency and being genuine and engaging that person face to face or online to build trust. No matter how high gas prices go up, or how bad the economy gets if the person you are trying to influence does not trust you they won’t buy from you.

I have several people who I like but don’t trust. Don’t you?

Les Adkins CEO Orange SMS

Social Media Bubble?

So why are we talking about the “Social Media Bubble”? Because Warren Buffett got into the fray and made this statement while at a conference in New Delhi, India.

“It’s extremely difficult to value social-networking-site companies…Most of them will be overpriced. Some will be huge winners, which will make up for the rest.”

So what Warren Buffett is talking about is his investment strategy not the end of Social Media which some in the blogosphere have been touting of late.

I will refer you back to an old post of mine that talks in detail about the: Social Media Bubble Fact or Fiction

I came across a LinkedIn Post that stated “RIP Social Media”. Well after reading the comment and blog (See Original Blog Here) My own conclusion is that Social Media Marketing maybe slowing down but not Social Media.

So here is what I think and others agree that Social Media is about engagement with customers, prospects, employees and people with like interests. The companies that use Social Media to engage will be the victors the ones that try to market before building Trust will be the losers.

Les Adkins CEO of Orange-SMS

Co-Founder of TalkTube (coming soon)



top image provided by jcreationz

Why are you still not using Social Media?

So according to David Nour (Relationship Economics)

Social media is not a fad! It is changing the fundamental manner in which we engage and influence our target market. The more you learn about this evolving technology, the more you realize the power and promise of social media as a platform for mass collaboration – with prospects and customers, employees, and suppliers.

I was reading The Economist December 18th, 2010  (forgive me it was the print edition) and found a little statement that made some sense to me. Investors are now investing in startups that are geared toward social media and social currency.

Social Media companies are like Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare. Social Currency companies are like Groupon, Gilt Groupe (a luxury-goods seller), and  Zynga (a social-gaming firm). Companies like Kaneva are combining the two. Chris Brogan and Julien Smith in their Book Trust Agent define  a type of social currency as social capital,

….social capital is different than other kinds of capital. When people come together and share a meal,  they not only end up fed, they also become tighter as a group. The mere act of gathering means that they will exchange things- stories, favors, and laughs- and will grow richer as a result. It may sound touchy feely, but these things have real value. And we don’t just mean that they keep you warm on a cold winter night, either; we mean they have real value, as in “you can take it to the bank” value. …..Just think of your favorite television cop drama and how often the phrase “you owe me a favor”, is uttered. These things are real.

So what does this mean for you? We see that social media and social currency startups are getting investors and that social capital is real and that there are companies using both to make real HARD COLD CASH. Oh and that this whole thing is not a fad.


There are books, webinars and companies out there that are all offering help for both large and small organizations. Marketing companies have even gotten in the mix as well as PR companies. Every one is trying it so why aren’t you?

The world as we know it is changing. Look at Egypt, Jordan, and Tanzania. These are extreme examples or are they. The younger generations are demanding change. Your customers are going to be demanding change (if they aren’t already) in the way you work with them and the way you sell your product or service to them. And what about your employees ( the few you have left)?

There are many blogs and articles discussing this topic but soon the topic will stop being “Why Are you not using Social Media” and start being “Companies that are failing due to the inability of them to change the way they are doing business”.

Moral of the story – It is not too late to start and there are many resources to help you get started. There are some posers out there as well so be careful but if they are talking about social media strategy, social currency or building social capital then they are probably on the right track.

Don’t be the one or one’s left behind in 2011. You know that we may still be here in 2012 so what are you doing to make sure that you remain one of the lucky ones still in business?

Les Adkins, CEO Orange SMS