Best Practices

Good comments on measuring the success of social media projects

I just read an interesting post by Jeremiah Owyang, about measuring the success of social media projects.  I agree with his comments that organizations should have a vision for what success means when deploying social media projects.  I also think that that vision should not be one in which people try to measure a hard ROI on the project.   I commented on this a few months ago in another post on the same topic.

I am often asked about how to measure the ROI on social media projects.  My usual answer is to make people stop and think about things like:

-- how do you measure the ROI on your email system?
-- how do you measure the ROI on your public website?  How about your intranet?  Or your mobile phone?

It was not very long ago that many business people said "I don't read email -- it's a waste of time!"  or "we don't need a website; we're not an e-commerce company!"  Can you imagine saying that now?  It would be ludicrous to do business without those valuable tools.  These technologies have woven themselves into the fabric of everyday business, and social media is doing the same thing.

It's very hard to measure (in numbers) the benefits of advancements that improve communication, collaboration, access to information, brand loyalty, customer engagement, etc.  But they are real improvements and you can detect them in the ways that Jeremiah describes without specifically measuring hard numbers or computing an ROI.

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