Before Return on Investment, Get on the same #SocialMedia Page

If you were in DC for #SMWWDC, some folks might have checked out @SocialOgilvy presentation on It’s More than the Like, Measuring Effectiveness in Social Media. If you missed it, Social Media Week did a recording that I highly recommend you check out (there is a lot of dead time in the beginning, I recommend forwarding to the 10 min mark.)

I really dig this presentation. While I watched this presentation, I kept think, “But, how many folks REALLY set objectives and metrics for their program(s)?”

Before getting to ROI, we need to get all our stakeholders on board with the concept of measurement, what that means, and what we plan to do with the data (if anything). I know the presenters assumed this was a given, but I kept wonder if all folks think about it before getting to the ROI?

Before you set up your next social media project and campaign think about these three steps:

Step 1: Does your stakeholders care to understand what the end game is?

Forget about KPIs for a minute.  I know this seems completely ludicrous to say, but I don’t think most folks using social media are evaluating whether it works. Seriously, I think the reason we even discuss social ROI is because many are trying to figure out what this means. I think when you met with your internal folks the lines should be clear: these are the inputs (we plan to do XX for XX length of time), these are the outputs ( at the end of the campaign we expect to see XX change/ more XX), this is how we measure if we were successful (if we effect change then we should see a movement in XX). You can only have a ROI if you invest money and resources. So you cannot calculate ROI with TRUE investment.

But I wonder if folks even get to this stage? I suspect most people skip this because it is too hard and the channels are too easy to set up so why bother measuring.

Step 2: Define ROI in terms people terms.

Beyond likes. This piece is what I LOVED about the presentation. Beyond the vanity of how many people are liking your page. What does success look like? What actions are you trying to persuade your audience to take. Harvard Business Review posted an excellent article on why social media metrics fail. I don’t completely agree with all the points, but i do agree some of the metrics we use are to make folks feel good about their efforts. Especially, the reference to vanity metrics such as “followers, likes, etc.” What should be the focus is did it affect engagement. Are more folks engaging with you online versus another channel. Is social media impacting customer support for example. Define terms that people can get on board with. Easier said then done.

Step 3: Prepare for Haters

Even if you get through to Step 2, there is always going to be someone who negates or challenges the metrics. Accept now. Haters hate because you/your team had the hutzpah to put things to paper and make a plan. Don’t hide from them. Embrace them.

While I don’t agree you cannot measure social media completely, I think we as practitioners do not do a good job of define what success looks like, therefore, are caught in a cycle taking metrics and trying to squeeze social into them. Too many folks get caught in the place of “I need to show ROI” versus “Did we outline our campaign well to show change or action?” Semantics maybe, but I think it is more important to get on board how you plan to use social media than what the ROI is.

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