1. I actually think that we do care about all the talent and knowledge inside organizations. What happens usually is that if your company is siloed and large enough, you may not meet, nor the company will be able to know about these wonderful internal resources. The use of social media allows you to learn about what you've got internally, gage the level of energy and interest in collaboration across functions and departments and see who's a natural at doing social media. An email thread, as attached as we've become to those, just won't accomplish this. As Jeremy Burton, President and CEO of Serena software says, employees will engage in social media anyway, why not put it out in the open and allow them to contribute to the business with social media? [tip of the hat to Shel Holtz via Twitter]
2. Customers want to know that they've come to right place and they would like to hear it from you. When people talk about authenticity and transparency they don't actually expect you to open your books to them, what they're saying is "talk to us like normal humans do" and "tell it like it is". We've gotten used to cloaking what we do and hiding the payoff behind reasonable empty language, which we keep borrowing from each other. There are ways to tell the truth and still own the ways to make something happen (or fix what is broken) for your customers. Denial or cover up are just that -- retardants and repellents. Dell got the message and is doing something about it. The aim is not perfection, as you might have thought of in a brochure or web site, the aim is listening and responding -- it's open ended and two-way conversation.
It is essential to show tangible value beyond the creation of community and internal engagement. These activities take time and attention away from other pursuits and those are precious assets. Whether ROI equals return on investment, return on involvement or return on influence, knowing the "return" part matters a great deal. We talked about feedback before. Measurement is an important form of feedback.
- Kami Huyse, who just presented on the topic and has written extensively about social media measurement before, posted a set of questions on resources and methodologies and asked for examples.
- Connie Bensen wrote a very detailed post on measurement, social media and ROI sharing what she plans to measure in quantitative and qualitative terms and the metrics of the ACDSee blog.
There are several tools that measure different things:
- Traffic (Google Analytics or some other system) -- here you may look at new vs. returning visitors, time spent on the site, number of pages viewed and learn if your social media site is sticky.
- Influence as in reach (FeedBurner RSS -- important enough to be considered separately as they go beyond reach, they show the reader is vested in some way with the content).
- Influence as in volume (all the social networks, Technorati, company articles submitted to social bookmarking like Digg, del.icio.us, etc.) -- you may know that the inbound links Technorati counts expire every six months. To be counter properly you also need to make sure your domain is mapped correctly.
- Influence (Google Alerts) -- mentioned elsewhere but not linked
Some of the metrics for Conversation Agent are:
- 25.6% returning visitors and 74.4% new;
- 3:25 avg. time on the site
- 30,520 visits in the last 4 months
- 989 RSS subscribers
- 25 live hits in between 7-12 minutes
- PR6 -- Google PageRank
- 1,904 comments on 375 posts -- 5:1 ratio
- 99 trackbacks
- 568 authority or links back to the site in the last six months (Technorati)
- Between 40-45% of visitors find this blog through organic searches and an average of 34% come here from other sites.
These are the numbers and I find both the steady rise in number of subscribers and the number of links encouraging. Numbers are easy. If you dig a little deeper, you may also gain insights into what content and topics are sparking interest, which goes to satisfying what your audience wants to read about and is receptive to. I find that kind of information more exciting than many ratios and statistics.
Let's not forget that ROI is not always about cash. What about another kind of influence? Less directly measurable, yet sometimes more powerful. What actions are people taking as a result of reading or engaging with you? Are they buying your products? Are they telling you about their needs? Are they requesting to speak with someone from your company? Are they willing to provide testimonials and referrals to you?
As for case studies or examples, I have built and maintained this blog to show rather than tell that it can be done, even by one person. When the commitment and the desire to connect are there, the medium is less difficult to get -- social media is mostly about attitude: listening, being open and sincere. Especially in light of what the offering here is -- connecting ideas and people.
This is a meme and I would like to invite other social media practitioners to the conversation on any methodologies they would recommend and of course to share their experience:
- Toby Bloomberg, Diva Marketing
- Rohit Bhagava, Influential Marketing Blog
- Patrick Shaber, The Lonely Marketer
- David Reich, My 2 Cents
- Greg Verdino
- Marta Kagan, The Secret Diary of a Bona Fide Marketing Genius
What proof of the effectiveness of social media are you providing businesses? How do you measure ROI? Let's continue the conversation.