Social media politicsAs I discussed in my last post, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how best to measure social media success. Unfortunately, nine times out of ten, the conversation is numbers-focused: how many Twitter followers, how many Facebook fans, etc. The biggest stumbling block for companies is the lack of a direct correlation between social media campaigns and revenue.

So it was somewhat serendipitous when Social Media Today tweeted a link to a “classic” post titled “Is our addiction to ROI killing social media?” Back in September, Matt Ridings describes a conversation with a potential client who had eliminated other prospective vendors because their proposals lacked specific ROI objectives.

After reading the proposals (with identifying characteristics removed), Ridings informed his prospective client that while the proposals lacked those objectives, they did focus on measuring social media activities that could be measured. In other words, the agencies were doing that “numbers dance” we all hate but have to do to prove our worth.

The main takeaway from Ridings’s “rant”: It’s possible to measure social media ROI, but the amount of time spent counting can make it impractical. Measure enough to demonstrate the value of a social media campaign but, in Ridings’s words, “the inability to precisely measure ROI shouldn’t be an obstacle to social participation.”

Amen to that.

(Image courtesy of Intersection Consulting)

Measurement and the ROI addiction

One thought on “Measurement and the ROI addiction

  • January 27, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    I completely agree that it’s silly for marketers/businesses to get hung up on the number of fans or followers. Both Facebook and Twitter (more so Facebook) offer some helpful tools for analysis that can help gauge success. I think it’s foolish to ignore any kind of ROI measurement, but it’s also dangerous to get so obsessed with numbers that the bigger picture becomes obscured.


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