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The ROI of social media (for real)

The Real ROI of Social Media

A few weeks ago I wrote a viral LinkedIn post (viral for me at least; had 1M+ views in a day).


Last week I used the content from that LinkedIn post in my newsletter list of 10k subscribers -- I got more replies back than in a single week maybe ever, saying "great post" or "I learned something from this" or "best email yet!" -- and not a single person write "dude, you just posted this on LinkedIn...."


I've also been able to read the comments on that post from LinkedIn + email responses to judge what parts of that content people reacted to (or were confused by) and tweak it and use it for an upcoming presentation at an event I am speaking at.


Then this week, I used the content from that email + post to deliver a talk in front of ~300 marketers at CXL Live in Austin.


This to me is the real value of social media. It's not about direct sales, direct response, direct ROI. Sure, sometimes you do post things and want an instant response like "hey register for our thing." But once you can start to build an audience and tap into the feedback loop from the real people you might buy your stuff or use your stuff, everything changes.


1. It's OK (aka PLEASE DO THIS) to post your content in multiple places. There is almost a 0% chance everyone in your audience will see it. Even with a 1M+ view post, people on my email list were not aware of the content. I got ~50 replies. Think about that - people who have opted into my content, on my email list, assuming they follow me --> they did not see (or remember) the post that reached 1M people, many of whom were not on my email list.


2. Social media is a such a valuable tool for marketing / content creation -- the feedback loop. Once you can understand this, and see how to use signals to help you figure out what to create, test ideas, see what's landing etc. the whole "ROI of social media" conversation changes. It's not about clicks or conversions. And you can see these signals even with only a few hundred followers on a channel. Start small. Did this get more comments than before? Are the comments more interesting, meaningful, insightful, funnier, whatever, than before? Keep building.


I've done this in some way for years now. Even as a marketer at a startup. That LinkedIn post from the founder could become the outline for her next talk at that startup event. Or the email she wrote internally that got people excited could be a good signal to turn that into an article for your customers. See how it keeps building?


If you're working on social media for a brand or for your own, instead of early metrics like sales / direct ROI I would focus on build an audience. And yes, measuring it in followers. Because the value comes once you build an audience, and LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube, the audience is measure in followers. It's not a vanity metric when you're using it for a purpose down the road. For some reason it's not OK to talk about follower growth because that's not a "real" metric. The CFO doesn't care about followers. Blah, blah, blah. Sure. But what about once that brand page or account has thousands of followers and now, when you post something, people actually reason! Or tickets sell out in minutes. Or seats fill up ASAP. All because you just shared the link on a channel you build an audience and earned trust on? And it will cost nothing to post that. Hey we got 500 people to register for our thing and all we did was post it on LinkedIn. It takes time to build an audience, but the payoff becomes a no brainer.


Stop thinking in sales ROI about social media channels.

The ROI will be easy to measure once you get there. 


Focus on building an audience and the rest is easy.


- Dave


PS. Today we're doing a live session with Plannuh CEO Peter Mahoney. 

We have 2,293 people registered as I write this and it's the biggest webinar yet. I said webinar!!!

How to Build a 2023 Operational Marketing Plan with Peter Mahoney 

We will cover:

1. Overall approach to building a plan
2. Setting goals, metrics, and targets
3. Building a framework for marketing campaigns over the year
4. Modeling funnels and determining cost per opportunity
5. Determining how much marketing budget to spend


New Podcast: 6Sense CMO Latane Conant

My guest on the podcast this week is Latane from 6Sense and she gives us 45 minutes of no bullshit marketing wisdom. I've been getting texts and comments about this episode more than any other lately.

6Sense has grown 100% year over year... 

She shares:

- The underrated ability to drive revenue through operational excellence
- Why 6sense runs a 100% account-based revenue motion
- The daily dashboard she uses and the whole company has visibility into to see how marketing is "doing"
- The power of focusing only on the most winnable accounts
- What she credits 6sense's revenue growth of 100% YoY each of the last 4 years to
- Why you can’t run last minute plays in quarter to close a revenue gap
- Why she doesn't care if pipeline is sales source or marketing sourced
- An update to her book "No Forms. No Spam. No Cold Calls."

Listen on Spotify


Listen on Apple Podcasts

Have you been listening to the Exit Five podcast? I think we've been bringing the B2B marketing heat lately, but what do I know.


Shoutout to my friends at Demandwell for sponsoring the podcast. Demandwell is the best SEO solution for B2B SaaS marketers. They’ve helped customers like Lessonly drive 40% of their revenue from organic search. And they helped Terminus’s make organic search their number one source of demos. Check them out. Tell them you heard about them from Exit Five.


63 Open Jobs - Exit Five Job Board


It's rocky out there right now. Every week there seems to be another B2B SaaS company you've heard of making layoffs.


But there's a *huge* opportunity right now for the companies that are hiring, and I'm still seeing some good opportunities weekly through the Exit Five job board.


As of today there are 63 open roles, including:

The Exit Five job board reaches ~4,000 B2B marketing candidates each month and it's a great place to get more eyeballs on your open roles (or to browse if you're reading this and looking for something new).


Learn more at jobs.exitfive.com.



[Want To Work With Me 1:1?]


Reply to this email or send an email to dg@davegerhardt,com to inquire


PS. Want to work with me 1:1 on a marketing project? I work with a handful of B2B SaaS companies when I have availability. If you're looking for developing your strategic narrative, creating a category, getting a boost in positioning/messaging, or need to make some lightning strikes with new marketing campaigns, I might be able to help. Reply back with details or reach out to dg@davegerhardt.com.


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