Math goes social.*

If you’re in business, you’re probably quite familiar with the concept of Return on Investment, or ROI (if you’re not, well … you may be in some trouble).  For those who work in the realm of social media, ROI has been a bit of a boogieman for the past several years.  The great stumbling block for social media communicators, consultants, and advocates has been the question of how you measure its value for businesses.  In short, if a business chooses to invest time and effort in establishing and maintaining a presence in social media, just how do they know it’s worthwhile?  An even briefer, more direct summary: How can it make money for your business?

One of the most exciting things to come out of the 2012 Blogworld and New Media Expo was a renewed (or some might say entirely “new”) focus on the hard business of social media.  Slowly but surely, it seems, communications professionals are moving beyond fans and followers (or “made-up” metrics like “Return on Engagement”) as measures of success and establishing a more business-oriented approach.  Several speakers gave engaging and informative presentations on the topic of ROI, but there were several standouts, including Clay Hebert and Dave Fleet.  Both of them addressed this simple, but oh-so-important acronym:

SMART – Specific Measurable Actionable Realistic Timebound

It may be corny, but it’s true:  Any social media marketing effort must be SMART.  It should have a specific, well-defined business objective; it should be something engaging that drives a specific action or activity; and, more importantly it should be achievable – nothing too pie-in-the-sky.  It should also take place over a defined period of time.

Being SMART will help businesses get and measure results.

To sum up this point and explain exactly what a business should consider before jumping into the teeming social media pond, we turned to noted blogger, author and consultant Jay Baer …


*
 Slide is from Clay Hebert’s presentation about measuring social media success. The full presentation is available on SlideShare here.