a_return_on_investment_ROI I’ve been a big fan of evaluating the ROI of social media; it’s the reasons I started blogging and connecting with industry people over 3 years ago.

What I’ve found is yes, there are metrics to measure, results that we’d want to monitor and there are ROI models that are emerging, but pretty much it’s coming down to a consensus that the ROI equation in social media more closely resembles that of marketing, advertising and, interestingly, customer support. The difference with these technologies is that it creates / supports two-way conversations between a company and their customers, prospects and stakeholders versus one-way, bleating out to the market like a deaf person with a megaphone.

What case studies can show us already is that revenue will be impacted, customer satisfaction will be impacted and sales will be impacted.  If done well, the affect will be positive, done poorly and a corresponding affect will occur.  In either case, everyone will notice what you do.  An example is our friends at WalMart.  By my recollection WalMart has tried MULTIPLE times to engage in a social media based conversation and failed as many times – it seems their brand is not well perceived in social media circles and it’s not like they do not have the dollars to throw at a project.

So it will not be a function of dollars alone that makes the effort work, it’s a crafting of a brand, a message and an image that appeals to an audience and a management of that effort to achieve the desired result.  The effort just happen to cost dollars and time.

Social Media Case Studies

No secret that I am a Jeremiah Owyang Fan (an Owyangite?) and he does such an amazing job of creating content on this topic – 2 of the 3 links are his…

My own experiences are in local market efforts with a start-up software company, a local fabric wholesaler and a number of real estate people – well, and that of TheSocialMediaBible.com, which will be live any day now.  Stay tuned!