How to Measure the ROI of Social Media

18 11 2008

One question that is constantly asked by organizations who are considering venturing into new media is concerning what the ROI for their efforts will be.  Typically they want to turn to this traditional measuring tool to judge whether or not it is worth their time and investment to get involved.  If you are someone who is the social media ninja for your company or consults for companies on social media, then I’m sure you’ve faced this question before.  As Jason Falls explains in a similar post on the ROI of social media:

“The problem with trying to determine the ROI for social media is you are trying to put numeric quantities around human interactions and conversations, which are not quantifiable.”

Just like everyone else, I face this question constantly, especially from my efforts in social media with my Argentinean steakhouse and food blog.  I thought Jason’s quote above nailed everything that I had been thinking because I don’t try to measure the specific ROI on my efforts.  But, it is a lot different when you’re the owner versus when you need to explain it to a prospective client, investor, business associate or anyone else for that matter who is outside of the social media circle.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend Social Media Jungle (full video stream here) which was organized and hosted by Jeff Pulver.  During the conference, one of the speakers was Ben Grossman who spoke on just this very topic.  I really like how Ben addressed the question of ROI for social media by discussing using ROBI (Return on Brand Investment) and ROCI (Return on Customer Investment) as measurements instead of the traditional ROI.

If you have 20 minutes to spare, I highly recommend viewing this video of Ben’s presentation.

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1478625&dest=-1]

So, what are your thoughts?  What do you tell your clients, friends, family or business associates when they ask you what the ROI for all of “playing around” on social media is?

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