Marketing spend these days is all about justification. I'm glad that the use of social media is quickly moving from "shiny object" darling to why should my business use it?
The latter is a much better question. One that will get us somewhere, not necessarily faster but more real. The ROI question pops up everywhere these days. I do wonder how do you measure your other business activities?
Do you measure marketing? Do you hold advertising accountable? Do you know what works, what doesn't? How about public relations? Finance? HR? IT? Any ROI calculations handy on those?
When we take a step back and make the time to figure out how we're going to measure what works and what doesn't - so we can tweak as needed - then we get on the way to providing a solid answer to the ROI question. Did you increase your lists? What about number of partnerships and deals?
If you know where you are today, you will know how far you've come tomorrow.
What's interesting is that many who started as bloggers in love with the space today are looking more and more like marketers - building and creating lists and data bases, and some even communities that are receptive to their products from their platforms.
Real time, really soon
These are the very early days of what we call the social Web.
The term will disappear as a distinct entity. Instead, we will simply think about sharing information and forging relationships online. The term "social media" will be an anachronism faster than we expect. The tools we use to conduct social media will become ubiquitous.
What is important are the concepts of attention and access.
The problem with social media as it is lies here: social media services (FB, Twitter, and dozens of others) atomize our attention. We're human: we can't go much further down this path.
Instead, we'll marry what we read, consume, and produce *directly* to the principles behind social media. The browser, desktops, and applications will all be seamless.
We'll share what we wish to and what we produce with those we choose. It will be real time, granular, and more automatic than it is today.
For now, I suggest that performance can and should be measured as part of a process along a continuum designed to expand reach, increase engagement, build influence, and request action on behalf of your business - with social media integrated in the communications mix.
At this point, pro bloggers and marketers are meeting somewhere in the middle. I believe there is plenty of room for deeper conversations on how the real time Web will pan out. It will be fodder for a future post.
What are your thoughts? Do we need to look at it from a totally different angle? If so, why?
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