At last week’s Austin Social Media Club meeting the topic turned to running numbers to prove that social media should be used in a particular situation. My blogger buddy Ynema at talk.bmc talks about her frustrations when people talk about the ROI of blogging. She wants to run screaming from the room when it comes up, but of course she doesn’t because she’s a pro. But, in a corporate environment, someone or some department has to pay the blogger’s bills. So it comes up. Continually.
My take on it right now is that you might be measuring the wrong metric with the wrong yardstick.
I just read this great article about the Reach and Influence (R and I) of blogging and it offers the measurable analytics to use when investigating the blog’s help on the bottom line. She’s talking about sponsoring independent bloggers, but I think the principles work effectively in reverse when analyzing your corporate blog site.
From the article:
1. Traffic (but don’t trust it alone)
2. RSS feeds
3. Inbound hotlinks
4. Search position, part one – keywords for company brand and keywords
5. Search position, part two – keywords for an individual’s brand (fame level)
Maybe reframing ROI as R and I of blogging can help people like Ynema keep her dignity so that she doesn’t have to suppress the urge to run screaming from the room. She didn’t run screaming from the room at the Austin SMC meeting, but that might be because she just had knee surgery.
Just calmly rephrase the ROI question as an R and I question and you can calmly prove that Influence is worth Investing in.
I learned much, much more about how this influence works and what numbers you could tie it to at the August Austin Social Media Club meeting, though. (Lookie, a pic of me and Steve Carl at the meeting.) Giovanni Gallucci, social media consultant extraordinaire, had examples of how to tie social media value to real numbers.
One: ask any sales person who needs a direct connection to a real customer how valuable a connection is when they say “I read this person’s blog and I am ready to learn more about your product.” Real sale made.
Two: immediate reaction to any negativity or problem with a product or service nearly requires the quickness of a blog or other social media tool. I immediately thought of the speed of Twitter and wiki page updates compared to waiting for a newspaper print to run or a TV news story to be aired. Real time saved.
And whurley (opensville.org) added
Three: A-list bloggers get listened to and if they mention your blog or product, you can directly compare that coverage to the advertising costs of a campaign that would have the same results. Real money saved.
Do you think I’m right in changing investment value to influence value for the new media? Any other metrics I’ve missed?