Shut-up and sell me stuff. (Do you ROC'M?)

At some point it's like that isn't it?

In the past six months alone I've come across some very smart folks whose voices ring out in social media and the HR marketplace - entrepreneurs and rock stars who have a lot of valuable things to say.

And there are those stalwarts, the embattled thought-leader legends who have been through the boom-bust cycle more than once and also have a lot to say.

Content is the new currency of all best-practice marketing, trust is that of social media. Most of us won't argue these. We don't control destiny outright, but we do control our transparency and trust generation and the content's initial distribution, with social media being the newest method of many. (Don't forget there is a fundamental difference between lead generation and lead nurturing.)

There's been this New Age buzz and face-to-face burn with social media and content marketing that has enveloped many in a unicorn-driven touchy-feely bed of rose petals and loving forest animals where we all square dance and have ice cream socials.

{raise hand} Guilty as charged.

Nick Fishman, the CMO/EVP from EmployeeScreenIQ, asked the right question a few months ago - "I get content marketing and social media, but at what point do you start selling?"

Shut-up and sell me stuff. You may not have ever had a prospect tell you that literally, but at some point you have to just sell.

Or you die. HR suppliers and consultants are in business to do business and that means you have to generate revenue at some point. You can't be fearful on cranking up the heavy metal marketing and actually selling your products and services.

And if your prospects read your business blog, follow your company on Twitter and Facebook, read your white papers and articles, attend your webcasts and listen to your podcasts - some will knock on the door for a demo and maybe buy, but most will just keep consuming your content until you ask them to buy.

Shut-up and sell them stuff. Because your competitors are.

You can even use your blog to occasionally drop the pure-play:

HRmarketer helps companies grow their business by offering a variety of marketing products, services and support that generate more visibility, traffic, leads and improved SEO.

Do you ROC'M?

So what about your return on marketing? Do you ROC'M - measure your Return On Content Marketing? Can you measure all this social media content marketing schtick to understand if your efforts are paying off into sales?

The big kids on the block - Chris Brogan, Mashable and Copyblogger - all have great tips and resources on measuring your social media marketing efforts.

But remember, social media marketing should be part of an overall integrated marketing strategy that includes:

Step One: Strategy, Messaging and the Search-Optimized “Marketing” Web site

Before engaging in any marketing, you need to have a strategy – a long-term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal and the messaging to drive that strategy. Then you need a Web site with a strong online presence that is search-optimized to improve the volume and quality of traffic to a Web site from search engines via natural (“organic”) search results.

Step Two: Content. Content. Content.

How many times do we have to say it - a primary goal of your Web site is to convert visitors into prospects (then nurture them into true leads). But without site traffic, you have no prospects. And without great content, in addition to SEO, you have no site traffic, only goose eggs.

Step Three: Promotion.

Okay, now you have a winning strategy, powerful messaging, and a great Web site that is search-optimized. And you have lots of great content and processes in place to generate fresh content on a regular basis. Now you’re ready to promote and distribute that content to generate visibility, traffic and leads.

Promotional tactics being everything from:

And now we've got social media marketing - the sharing of relevant content and the building of trust and relationships with very specific prospect and influencer groups.

I’m a big fan of the softer outcomes of social media and content marketing such as familiarity and trust and sharing our valuable content and that of other influencers, customers and prospects. The more familiarity and trust I build with my customers, prospects and influencers, the more valuable my company becomes to them.

But just like we need to sell stuff we also want ROC'M measurement.

We want definitive returns from their activities and measurement should always be tied back to what our marketing objectives are in the first place. So while most marketers would agree that measuring return on social media marketing staffing and time investments can be difficult, these are the ultimate metrics we tout you should track throughout all your marketing efforts, even in social media. They are:

Yikes, this post has gotten long enough, and since I see your eyes glazing over, I'll follow up with more details on measurement in another post.

Or if you haven't done so, download our eBook Social Media Marketing in the HR Marketplace. Look for our Webinar about all this stuff coming soon as well.

Post by Kevin W. Grossman (join me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn - and now joinHRmarketer on Twitter!)

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