Monday, June 21, 2010

Social Media ROI: You Get Out What You Put In

Trying to figure out how much a Facebook "liker" is worth (can Facebook just give it up and change that back to fan please?) is apparently tricky business. First Adweek reported that Facebook fans were worth $3.60 each. Suddenly that number skyrocketed: a more recent study claimed that each fan is worth $136.38. Great news, right?

Apparently not, according to Social Media Examiner; today they reported that most marketers are actually not finding social media to be profitable. But what about those Facebook fans worth $136.38 apiece?

Which is it--social media is great or doesn't work at all? According to Social Media Examiner, what you get out of social media is only as good as what you put in. Companies that have social media strategies and managers dedicated to implementing them are twice as likely to be successful. Makes sense--right? I mean, what other endeavor would companies expect to be successful at without a strategy or any dedicated staff--except maybe an intern or some volunteers? Yet, with social media, that's exactly how many companies are approaching it--first let's experiment in a haphazard way with no real goals or strategy or devoted staff...then if it works maybe we'll think about hiring someone to do it for real. If not, it proves this stuff is just a fad and not worth investing time or money in anyway.

This video by John Haydon about how to use Facebook Insights to measure is not only great in its own right but also gives valuable insight into WHY social media requires staff dedicated to nurturing, building, and analyzing it in order to provide value. The video is about 6 minutes long but it's worth sitting through, if for no other reason than to understand exactly what kind of effort is required to be successful in social media.

Look how painstaking the process is for identifying influencers among your Facebook fans. As John puts it, "building community is high-touch by default...there's no automated way to do it." Best quote EVER about WHY online community and social media are not things that happen in a vacuum or without sustained, dedicated effort.

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