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ROI vs. Engagment: The social media conundrum continues

I can’t tell how many times I’ve written about this, but for me, this topic is the key driving metric in whether a social media campaign is successfull or not.  I had planned on writing about something else this morning and literally had only been reading a few blogs when I came across an interview by Amber Naslund for Marketing Profs in which she interviews Kodak’s Corporate Media Relations Manager Krista Gleason and Chief Blogger Jenny Cisney to find out why their social media program is so valuable to their business, and how they’ve defined success.

It’s an interesting interview but check out this question on ROI. I have to give mad props to Amber for asking the question in the first place, because I think it gets to the heart and soul of social media marketing.

Q: How do you define your “ROI” from involvement with social media? Krista:

 

  • Feedback from readers and customers via the blogs and email
  • Invitations to speak at top-tier conferences, including BlogWorld and BlogHer
  • Links to our blogs from other blogs and online articles
  • Recognition from social media experts, like Mario Sundar and Debbie Weil, and traditional media, like Business Week
  • Awards: Earlier this year Kodak won three awards for our blogs—the PRSA Bronze Anvil, American Business Award (Stevie Award), and an Interactive Media Award

Her answer entails everything that would involve branding and exposure and face time and has nothing to do with making actual money. She is not selling anything. Her ROI is measured, but it’s measured by the interaction. The money aspect takes care of itself in it’s own way, but for Krista, ROI in her world is measured by the quality and depth and reach of her social media engagements.

Some would say that if she’s not making money then there is no ROI. Would you agree with that or disagree? What do you think her efforts have done for the Kodak brand?

*Then, lets end on Ambers post of 6 things she learned from Kodak and look at #6

6. ROI isn’t always about direct revenue.
No, I’m not saying social media shouldn’t HAVE an ROI. But I took notice that, on Kodak’s list of social media ROI, not one of them cited any dollar figures. It’s about building relationships, building your brand, and making people want to learn more about you. These are the things that drive revenue for your company over the long term, even if it’s a meandering path.

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Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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