By Tom Collins
Yvonne and I spoke recently on social media to Paul Nelson's MBA class in Marketing at the Simon Graduate School of Business. I spent most of my segment talking about the business benefits of social media from a slide with this graphic:
This series will explore a multi-faceted approach to ROi that, I think, should drive everything from initial strategy and planning, to your day-to-day online interactions, to what you measure and what you do with the results. The focus is moved away from analytics, toward analysis. Away from automatically counting these and tracking those. Toward understanding how engaging in social media can create business value and then seeing whether your involvement needs course adjustment.
So, what are my 16 flavors?
Three things, before the list. First, this list has its roots in Charlene Li's post reporting on Forrester's ROI analysis of the first year of GM's FastLane blog and my own post Extending Forrester's Blog ROI Matrix, back in early 2007. I've been "extending" my version of the list ever since and it may always be a work in progress, given the pace of change in social media tools.
Second, the list is only the starting point. As the posts just mentioned show, the methodology for understanding, selecting, and then measuring these "flavors" of business value involve three more columns for assigning targeted metrics, value analogs, and dollar values. We'll develop those in future posts.
Third, I'm aware of a certain amount of overlap in some of the list items. I think it's inherent — and beneficial when you begin selecting and prioritizing the benefits you're looking for in your social media efforts and assigning metrics and value analogs.
Okay, here's what's on the Business Benefits menu:
1. Accumulation of branded quality online content
2. Search engine positioning
3. Reader/visitor/follower engagement
4. "Press" mentions (MSM, A-List blogs)
5. Word of mouth
6. Recognition as a thought leader in your niche
7. New business acquired
8. Improved customer retention
9. New/more effective customer service
10. Establishing a trusted online "voice"
11. Internal company image or morale boost
12. Improved ability to recruit talent
13. New product development/R&D channel
14. Continuing education, organizational learning
15. Cost savings on web "presence"
16. Unexpected results/opportunities
Do you have other yummy flavors to offer? Blends to suggest?