I thought that title would grab your attention. However, I need to start by saying I’m pretty sure Gary Vaynerchuk is going to be putting a trademark on that if he already hasn’t, because its gold Jerry, gold!
Let me back up. Yesterday I was at the Art of Marketing conference in Toronto. It’s a one-day conference and the best way to describe it is, if you go to AdTech or DMA or another mega-conference and you take the opening keynote each day and you take them and line them up one after another to present in one day, that’s what this conference was. One day, every speaker great, in and out. Loved it.
I’d love to go back and spend more time in Toronto, particularly when its not so cold (it was in the teens while we were there). Beautiful city.
Gary was one of the presenters and as usual he was fantastic. If you haven’t seen him speak, you should. I’m not usually into “rah rah” guys but for some reason I dig his presentations. I also loved his book, Crush It!, and will read his new book which came out today, The Thank You Economy.
Back to the point. Gary says that when people ask him, “What’s the ROI of social media?”, he replies, “What’s the ROI of your mother?“. Of course everyone laughed and it became a hot phrase to tweet during the conference. And of course, when I searched the phrase on Google it turns out he says this a lot. Not surprisingly, because its humorous but it also hits an important point about social. It was a great contrast to the previous speaker (who by the way was also fantastic), Avinash Kaushik, who talked about the importance of analytics.
I’ve been making this point for quite a long time. In fact, one of my most viewed and commented blog posts from the past is, “Analytics is killing social media“. My point then and still is that social is so much more than just what you can immediately measure.
So Gary asks a tongue in cheek question, but let’s make it a little simpler.
- What’s the ROI on your friend showing you the book she’s reading and saying you outta check it out?
- What’s the ROI from you getting a ride with a friend in their new Acura and during the ride they talk about how great it is?
- What’s the ROI on your friend posting Facebook photos from the concert they just attended?
- What’s the negative ROI on your friend telling you that you shouldn’t go to the new restaurant in town because the service is terrible?
These are things that are incredibly difficult to measure. Yet we’d all agree these types of recommendations are extremely powerful.
I once was speaking at a conference last year and I asked the audience what they’d rather have, ten people receive an email from their company OR one person telling their friend how awesome their company is. 99% of the audience said the one referral. I then increased the email side of the equation to 100 people. Easily 90% still said the one referral was more important. It wasn’t until I put 1,000 people on the email side of the equation that the audience was split. At this conference, one personal referral = 1,000 emails received.
Just because we can’t directly measure something doesn’t mean its not worth doing. Sometimes you have to let common sense guide you.