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When you really start to think about social media and start to listen in to what “consultants” are telling their clients to do you’ll notice a pattern. The pattern is that most companies are told they need to go on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, and that they need a blog. Then, they are given a few supplemental “listening” tools or applications that they can use for the various platforms. In fact, when you really think about it, there’s almost a cookie cutter approach to social media. I mean how many different platforms can you possibly recommend to your various clients? I know what you’re thinking, it’s not the tools you use but how you use them; ok fine, but even so, there’s a finite way in which we can use the various tools out there. I’m willing to bet that if you took 100 of these so called “consultant” folks and asked them to develop a strategy for a client that almost all of them would recommend the same set of tools but with slightly varied degrees of usage.
This is one of the many reasons why I am focusing on social business accountability and ROI because regardless of what tools, platforms, or strategies you pick; at the end of the day; you have to be understand where you money is going and what you are getting out of your investment. In my opinion the social business and accountability space is really where the meat of the work is. This is where the strategy comes into play because you are looking at an organization as a whole and trying to infuse it with new technologies to strengthen the brand and make it more money. The ROI and accountability component is especially challenging and complex (and hence the most interesting) because companies are all using a varying combination of tools to measure and track their customers. This is where the fun comes into play because you really to understand how the business works and interacts with it’s customers; the foundation of any social media strategy.
In my opinion one of the first steps to any social media strategy has nothing to do with setting up a Facebook fan page, or *gasp* a twitter account. No, one of the first steps needs to be based entirely around measurement. This is where the social media ROI diagnostic comes into play. Remember, that the new technologies we are looking at today are just the beginning, business is never going to b done the same way again. In an online conversation I had with Olivier Blanchard he said, “we have to tear things down before we can build them back up,” and I couldn’t agree more. We need to stop making excuses for not being able to measure the ROI from social media campaigns. I’ve heard plenty of “consultants” say, “well measuring any type of ROI of marketing is hard so why should social media be any different,” or, “you can’t measure the ROI of a television commercial or a billboard at but you’re still investing in those.” First of all there are measurements that companies are using for any type of marketing they do, just because you don’t know what those measurements are doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. Second, since when have we decided to run our businesses based off previous decades old schools of thought? Just because you couldn’t measure something ten years ago doesn’t mean that you can’t measure it today. Sure, if you want to say that you can’t measure the ROI from a billboard then that’s fine, but why on earth are you applying that same lax approach to measurement to the online space? Anything that is done online is much more trackable, measurable, and calculable so don’t clump it in with anything that has to do with offline measurement.
Let the tearing down begin.