A Great Starting Point for Social Media ROI
Yesterday, I wrote about my beef with the popular cliché that “ROI for social media is Return on Influence.” This latest take was prompted by Connie Bensen’s ROI of a Community Manager post that has some great thoughts when it comes to measuring the value of social media.
As I put in my last post, quantifying the results of your social media investment is a worthwhile endeavor. Mapping those results to business value can be tricky, but it’s important to make the effort. As I implied yesterday, a Darwinian Take on Business says that the key decisionmakers are probably pretty sharp about the business they’re helping to run. They’re probably not sitting back and making every decision based on a simplistic ROI calculation. Talk to them about the business when you’re talking about social media.
Connie’s post has a pretty great point to start with this exercise. And, at the risk of exhibiting excruciatingly poor form blogging-wise, I’m just going to repeat it here. This is Connie’s list of the ways that investing in social media can provide value to the company. The investment can:
- Humanize the company by providing a voice
- Nurture the community & encourage growth
- Communicate directly with the customers
- Connect customers to appropriate internal departments
- Ensure that messaging will connect
- Build brand awareness through word of mouth
- Lower market research costs
- Add more points in the purchase cycle
- Provide support to customers that have fallen thru the cracks
- More satisfied customers because they’ve been involved with product development
- Shorten length of product development cycle
- Build public relations for brand with influentials in the industry
- Identify strengths & weaknesses of competitors
- Collaborate & partner with related organizations
- Provide industry trends to the executive level
Which of these resonate the most with you as something that your company values highly or that your company is struggling to do effectively? How do you know that? Are there anecdotes that are widely circulated? Are there metrics that get shared regularly to either illustrate how important the area is to the company…or how much of an uphill battle the company is facing?
Start there. Don’t jump from what you come up with on that front to “…and here’s what we’re going to measure.” Start there and then develop a social media strategy (read more of Connie’s blog…and Jeremiah Owyang’s…and Chris Brogan’s…and others for tips on that). From that strategy, you can then develop your measures — the way you’re going to assess the value of your social media efforts.
Photo courtesy of cambodia4kidsorg