First of let me preface this post with a disclaimer. This is not your typical post on social media ROI – in fact it’s quite the opposite. It’s a bit more of a personal rant, if anything, but one worth reading.
I am constantly reading tweets and blog posts about social media ROI and justifying it’s use with numbers. A few weeks ago I was at the Internet Marketing Conference (IMC) in Calgary and there was a panel discussion about social media ROI. The presenters provided some great discussion points and examples, that’s not where my issues are. In fact I think sharing case studies of successful social media implementation is critical. Where my issue is with the doubters, the old-school marketers, or those who just don’t get – or care to get social media – and try have us justify social media’s worth by asking us to provide a return on investment.
During the social media ROI panel discussion at IMC, the thought popped into my head: “What’s the return on investment for a billboard? Can you easily measure it?” I would guess the answer to the first question is speculative and the answer to the second question is ‘no’. Yet, here we are, years into social media, still trying to rationalize social media for business use. Just Google ‘social media success stories‘ to find a bunch of great case studies showing the social media works.
If any of you have heard of Erik Qualman, or read his book, Socialnomics, you’ll appreciate this quote:
Why are we trying measure social media like a traditional channel anyway? Social media touches every facet of business and is more an extension of good business ethics.
I completely agree with Erik. We should stop analyzing the potential ROI of social media, and begin participating – your customers expect it.
Erik has another quote, that I think is great:
When I’m asked about the ROI of social media sometimes an appropriate response is… What’s the ROI of your phone?
I understand the importance of putting value to your work in social media, but I think it’s time to stop the banter and discussion about the ROI of social media. It’s been proven – it works! So start using it.