I heard a very interesting story on NPR the other morning when I drove into work. It was about $1 coins. Not the paper variety, the coin variety, with each President’s picture on them, and the very special Sacagawea (1 made for every 4 of the Presidential variety).
Best Laid Plans
Apparently, Congress felt like it would be pretty awesome (in an economical, make money kind of way) to make lots of $1 coins and circulate them into the revenue stream, ultimately replacing the dollar bill and stimulating the economy. The government would make 70 cents for each $1 coin sold – nice profit margin if you ask me. Grand, lofty goals, with a potential economic windfall…if it works. I’m willing to go along with them for a moment. Who knows? They may be on to something.
I listen further and learn that we have billions of those coins, just sitting, not being used, in various vaults around the country. We have so many of them that we’ve had to build new vaults to hold them all. Why? Because no one wanted them. They didn’t take off like the folks who dreamed up the idea thought they would. The result? Approximately $300 million in lost profit for the US Government. Gone. Not moving. Costing us money, actually. Remember, we’ve had to build extra vaults for the extra coins. And WE’RE STILL MAKING THEM!
What’s the Point?
So, not to make this a political blog post…it’s not. Let’s get to the point. What are you doing in your business or in your marketing efforts that is a COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY? What are you doing because someone told you should, you think one day it might take off, or because you’re committed to it and you just can’t stop or cancel that agreement? It may not be as drastic as the billion dollar $1 coin fiasco, but you can bet it has the same effect on your legitimacy, your business acumen and your profitability.
Shut the Front Door!
Evaluate what you’re doing right now. What’s working? What’s not? What’s costing you money, but perhaps may turn a corner one day soon? What makes you think it will? If you can’t answer that question with hard and fast facts, stop the wheels of motion now. If you can get out of agreements that aren’t bringing value to your business or increasing profitability and long-term sustainability, it’s time to renegotiate. Save yourself time and money and rethink your approaches.
The Elusive ROI of Social Media
In the same day, I read an article from Fast Company eschewing the metrics of social media and any hope of a measurable ROI. It’s “experimental” and the metrics aren’t in place. “It’s the age of unaccountability.”
Really? Did you write that? Do you really believe that? Is it really all about the qualitative and not at all about the quantitative? I say that it’s both and that if you’re not measuring both, then it’s time to save yourself some time and money and rethink your approaches, perhaps even hop off all together.
Just like you wouldn’t want the government to keep making coins just because they passed an ineffective bill saying they should; you should not keep working in certain social platforms that don’t bring value to your business or your life, simply because you don’t have to measure the ROI.
Get Started Now
Begin with the end in mind. You know I do love a goal. I love goals because they establish a baseline measurement for me. If I start without the end result or goal, I then use x, y and z methods and either hit the desired end result or I don’t. I now have something to measure and evaluate. Sounds simple because it can be.
Grab a Tool…Don’t be One
We have endless tools at our finger tips and more popping up each and every day. To say we can’t measure our social media efforts is like saying we can’t stop making $1 coins…or that someone told us we should do it and to just go for it and hope that one day it will stick. Hang in there. It will work one day. Yes, success in social media does take time, but to infinity and beyond?
Baloney. Get yourself acquainted with Google Analytics. Create some calls to action on your website. Use PostRank (recently purchased by Google Analytics) and measure what happens when you write about one topic over another. Evaluate your readership and what they’re interested in. Get to know the long tail of marketing and understand what started it all when the phone rings or the Contact Submission Form pops up in your in box.
Go On. Ask the Question.
Above all else, ask yourself what are you wasting time on today? How will it impact your success tomorrow? And more importantly, what are you going to do about it?
Image found on Flickr via DonkeyHotey