This post from Bloomberg covers a lot of the same ground we’ve talked about before — especially about the problems of a business going into social media without enough sensible forethought. Without proper planning and consideration of all the true costs and implications of a properly-managed social media program, and without a way of generating solid metrics, a company is only going to find social media marketing a sinkhole – not an asset.
As a Chicago-based social media and digital design agency, we’ve seen our share of firms that want to jump neck-deep into the social media pool, because there’s so much buzz around it they feel like they can’t afford to be left out. But it’s not enough to simply be “out there.” If you’re not realizing substantial returns that justify the effort, why do it? How is social media any different than any other form of marketing or engagement investment? There’s an entire cottage industry sprung up around the simple act of extracting measurements from SMM, with consultants playing out methodologies like this or this for attacking the issue.
In fact, the sheer number of conversations and posts on the subject point to the fact that SMM measurement is an evolving situation — and the philosophies and solutions for measurement may be just as varied as the channels and types of marketer coming to it.
But the main argument still holds: you ought to define return on your investment (or your ‘Return On Design Investment,’ as we call it here) in order to track your success in using social media. That means hard work beforehand to figure out your goals, channels and benchmarks. It means being disciplined and hard-nosed about social media, clear-eyed about what it can and can’t do for your business, and being rigorous and consistent in your execution.