Social Media and ROI

Humans are social creatures which means that socializing is a natural, integral part of maintaining our emotional well-being. We do have hierarchies of intensity in our social connections that are based on our personal evaluation of dependencies and reciprocity experiences.

Joel Rubinson, Chief Research Officer of the ARF, in his post “To understand social media, marketers must drop the C word”, quotes

“Lynne d Johnson, the ARF’s head of social media (formerly head of communities at Fast Company mag.) asked our expert panel about ROI, it was clear that we don’t have all the answers yet.  However, the answer I liked best was Heather’s; “What is the ROI for you to send your mother a mother’s day card?”  So I might add, what is the ROI for authenticity?  Who cares?  What kind of company do you want to be? “

I have an answer for Ms. Heather Maxwell from General Mills’s rhetorical questions – I am sure that among other things, General Mills wants to be a profitable company. Perennially unprofitable companies have a nasty habit of disappearing from the business landscape, along with the employment they provide to social media visionaries.

I am not arguing against authenticity, transparency and other virtues mentioned in Joel’s post, in fact I strongly support them. However dismissing core business value, just because we cannot figure out a sound methodology to formalize it, is disingenuous and is bad advice.

ROI has nothing to do with authenticity – it is a tool to help us make choices. The choices we make can be authentic or not.

Next time you have to choose between an invitation to a friend’s pool party and helping your uncle with a move, think of ROI and be authentic.

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