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« My Twitter Election | Main | The Importance of Social Networking to Information Work »

November 12, 2008

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Crystal King

I do think that social media can be measured for ROI, albeit not in the traditional ways. Comparing links in vs. time spent to build the links and match that to a past adwords or advertising campaign for example. In fact, Brian Halligan talked specifically about how they measured many pieces of their social media strategy--links from Twitter that turn to leads, etc. Rather than looking at ad dollars, we need to look at manpower in light of cost per hour.

My company (very large, so we have more leeway than an SMB) is using social media primarily for additional reach and to drive people back to the website and other, more measurable, ways of tracking leads. Fortunately we're looking at it as an extension of PR/Communications vs. marketing, so the scrutiny over ROI isn't as much of a big deal (can be more intangible) in the same way as it might be for a colleague in field marketing.

Chris Selland

No offense, but how can ROI be 'obvious' but not 'calculable'?

Yes ALL marketing has soft, intangible benefits - but at the end of the day all marketing also needs to be producing a pipeline of opportunities. Including Social Media. And at least that part is VERY calculable.

The first marketer who tells their boss that they are 'intellectually bankrupt' (quoting McAfee) for asking for ROI on Social Media will be the first one in the unemployment line.

Rachel Happe

Just to clarify, if I didn't make it clear. I am not suggesting - nor was Andrew McAfee - that you don't measure and improve and track spend vs. measurable benefits. What I am suggesting is that it is impossible to measure the lifetime value of a customer with whom you have a deep relationship with vs. one in which you do not.

In big companies particularly each customer is touched so many times by so many people that the costs are hard to calculate. Similarly, their willingness to do case studies or be a reference or recommend you (which you may not ever see) or help with product development is impossible to really calculate. There are direct and indirect revenue impacts from each customer you have..and many of those impacts are impossible to measure making overall ROI impossible to calculate with any degree of accuracy.

Also, just to be clear, I am not talking about tracking just social media efforts to leads (I agree...much easier to calculate and you should).

Thanks for visiting and adding to the dialog!

Rich Sands

I think metrics are fine, as long as you don't imagine that there is any way to directly measure say, the connection between a Twitter interaction and a purchase order. I liked Brian's approach - it generates actionable information. The danger with metrics I think is that companies that need to measure everything and see those correlations are going to miss out on some opportunities that aren't measurable, but that could help position them for success.

bubsy seo test

i agree all the comments they said!!

Debbie

Hey Rachel, we have SMB in Singapore too!

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