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My car was recently broken into for the second time in six months. I carry full coverage, so it cost me nothing but the time and the hassle of dealing with a police report, an insurance claim, and getting the window glass replaced.

My tweets and Facebook posts about the incident naturally garnered numerous responses of support from my friends and acquaintances. Something clicked in my head, and thus my three reasons why social media is like car insurance:

It’s all a gamble. With auto insurance, your premium is a way of anteing up against the possibility that you may be in an accident. You also have a deductible, your out-of-pocket expense if you file a claim, based on the coverage you have and the premium you pay.

Social media spending as part of your company’s overall marketing budget is the same. Whether you hire or allocate internal staff or hire a digital agency to handle your social media, there is an up-front expense (your premium) determined by how much engagement you want and the quality of results.

Should something bad happen to your brand, your social media team swings into effect with crisis management–assuming you’ve paid sufficient premiums and planned for this potential risk. It not, you may face a high deductible to engage in reputation control.

A dollar value can be assigned to everything. If you’ve ever filed an auto insurance claim, you know your insurance company has your car priced down to the last hose clamp based on decades of claims.

Over the course of an engagement, Raidious can and does put a monetary value on every piece of content we produce–every blog post, every tweet, every Facebook post–so we can meaningfully measure return on investment.

Of course, establishing these dollar values is both an art and a science, and it takes time. For those brands willing to pay their premiums (see above), they can reap the rewards of precise measurement and increased sales and profits.

There’s no substitute for human interaction. If you’re only interested in price, you can shop around for insurance. Going with a huge national carrier may save you money on your premiums in the short term.

But when you call them, do they know your name? Do they ask how your kids are? When I call my agent’s office I get the personal attention that comes with being a customer of 20 years. I could probably save a little money by comparing other rates, but the connection I have with my agent is worth any extra money I may spend.

Establishing a relationship starts with the first encounter between us and a potential client, extends through the discovery process and continues to grow throughout our engagement. If you’re not getting that from your digital agency, how do you know you’re getting the best work and the best results possible instead of being in a marriage of convenience?

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