The Social Media ROI Pyramid

Often, our industry can appear complicated, and yearns for simplicity. One such technique to glean simplicity is to develop frameworks which the corporate social strategist can then apply to achieve their business goals.

At IBM, I have had the honor to develop few of these frameworks throughout the years and for 2011, we have great things in store for our developerWorks portal. So naturally, when a great thinker raises valid points around social media metrics, I am naturally tuned to it. Jeremiah recently shared such a framework publicly and I would like to highlight it here for my readers.

He makes some great points here, most notably.

A novice will provide engagement data as a metric of success for a social media campaign. While a seasoned professional provides executives with business metrics first. They know fans and followers aren’t a business goal, but what you do with them is.

I agree. Every web marketing tactic or the overall strategy has to lead to some kind of a business result. Plain number of likes or followers without influence and/or engagement is useless in the social media marketing arena.

Forrester’s report also indicates that Measurement, is the Number One Priority, for a Social Business

Experimental mediums require proof they work. The corporate social strategist is constantly being challenge as they grasp more budgets to prove their efforts and teams are making a difference. In addition to proving these new mediums are worth the time spent, the corporate social strategist is being challenge by their peers in incumbent positions who may be giving up effort and budget to support social efforts.

Down markets put greater scrutiny on spending. As spending across the board reduces in a recession, focus on proving new efforts is required by all parties involved. Those that can effectively measure improvements can make the business case they can truly obtain more budget.

The Corporate Social Strategist Must Develop Frameworks Now. Most corporations are already forming in the “Hub and Spoke” formation which means a small cross-functional team is helping a variety of business units. Establishing a standard way of measuring now is important before corporations move into “Dandelion” where measurement strategy fragments into spokes.

Yet, Measuring Social Media Is Challenging

While we learned that measurement is the key, we found that 65% of corporations are using engagement data as the top used metric, with only 22% using product revenue as a metric.

Read the rest of this fascinating report here.