Social Media and Return on Investment (ROI)


I recently attended an event at The Urban Bean coffee shop in Minneapolis about social media marketing and Return On Investment (ROI). Jen Kane from Kane Consulting opened by guessing that we were all waiting for her to give us the big ROI secret or that there is some magic software package that gives all of the answers. Unfortunately, there isn’t one. Our brains give us the tools we need. We have to figure it out through good old fashioned trial and error.

Start with a measurement checklist. A while back I wrote an article called “Did You Know You Can Listen to the Internet?” which might be a good place to get started. In the laws of social media, listening is the first step and how we hear what is being said is different for every business. Listening will help you discover what you want social media to do for you and it will help you understand where customers are and how to build them as an audience. Sometimes we set our goals too big and as Jen so humorously put it, saying you want to be awesome by the end of 2011 isn’t going to cut it. It won’t cover the intangible assets or topics that are a call to action like buying your product, having conversation where consumers talk back and it isn’t enough to cover a change in sentiment either.

When someone asks you about what the ROI is on social media, ask them how they measure great customer service, leadership skills or brand integrity. The truth is its all still being defined as I write this post. When we think about ROI we also have to consider:

  • Return on Engagement
  • Return on Participation
  • Return on Involvement
  • Return on Attention
  • Return on Trust
  • Return on Integrity

As I have said in a past posting about the future of advertising:  “Hey corporate america, we in social media have some things to share. If you are going to play in digital space, we need you to understand that the key is providing value to your consumers through function.  Start thinking about how you can pull your clients together to be a resource for one another. How can you engage your customers? The signs are everywhere telling us there is a new model that mass marketing hasn’t adopted yet.”

Twitter and Facebook are just platforms. It’s what you put on there and how people respond that matters. ROI does not happen over night. It takes one step at a time and going from zero to; “Do you want to get married?” won’t happen overnite.

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About KakieF
To learn more about Kakie Fitzsimmons, please select "A NOTE FROM KAKIE" tab at the top left of this page. Thanks for visiting my blog!

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