ROI in Social Media: Not Everything that Can be Counted Counts and Not Everything that Counts Can be Counted
“Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.”
I am sure that everyone who works in the social media industry sooner or later faces the million dollar question of ROI of social media. It is just a question of time and luck before they run into one of the following:
a) A business that is excited to finally join the crowd that dominates Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and can’t wait to start communicating with its fans / customers. Usually, ROI questions are not raised, as these businesses are guided by the ‘everyone is doing it and we want to do it also’ attitude (note to consultants: immediately take them as a client and help them as much as you can!)
- ‘The Casino’ – This type of business is aware that there will be some challenges (when they might have to delete some comments), as well as many benefits (positive discussions), to opening the door to the public. It is open to engaging customers in any action or discussion that takes place on their account (taking risk).
- ‘The Movie Theatre’ - A type of business that wants to ‘do it’ while eliminating challenges; they want to be ‘social’ without being social and what they end up having is just one-way communication. The story goes like this – I like the status and fun that the Casino brings, but I just don’t want anyone coming through my door and doing what they want – they can just sit and watch / listen.
b) A business that is aware that it should be present in social media and works towards proving why this is a good decision; however, it is not excited about social media and would be alright if it simply ignored this ‘whole social media thing’ (note to consultants: rethink if you should work with such a client, as you do not speak the same language!)
- ‘The Safe House’ – A type of business that needs to have many logical and analytical questions answered, ASAP, with ROI usually being one of the first. They are thinking money – if we invest $1 how much are we getting back. You need to be a math geek and find a way to calculate how much each Facebook fan is worth, or Twitter follower. Not to mention how ‘like’ translates into sales!!!
- ‘The Nursing Home’ - A type of business that has just begun doing research and long-term planning of next steps towards getting into social media. It is comfortable with being a very late adopter and will analyze any case study out there of ‘other businesses’ journeys and experiences’ in this new venture called ‘opening the first account on a social media platform’. After all research has been completed and organized, it will progress to the stage of a ‘Safe House’ where endless questions and approvals will make it impossible to even open that first account.
c) A business that openly states complete disinterest in social media (note to consultants: take a deep breath and wait for them to set the tone the conversation). In this case you can expect either to be trapped in a passive-aggressive monologue about (bad, bad) social media or manipulated into changing the topic. Please consider yourself extremely lucky if you run across a business ( a person) who will state clearly its (or his/her) disinterest in being active in social media, yet still be open to engage in a normal conversation about social media.
So, what does one do when faced with such questions about ROI and needing at least some promising numbers in order to justify a potential investment? Below are some good resources that can help you arm yourself and become better prepared to address the topic and hopefully open doors to the casino, movie theatre, safe house and nursing home.
Sounds (looks) familiar?
It is always good to start at the beginning…
And then arm yourself with even more knowledge…
Then understand the paradox