Sunday, March 25, 2007

Social Media - Return on Investment or Return on Influence

A friend and former colleague Mark Blevis has gone through an interesting personal transformation over the last four years or so. I've always known him to be a thoughtful, bright, intellectually curious, outgoing individual, and a perpetual, lifelong learner. In about 2003 or so, he started experimenting with social media in general, and podcasting in particular, and his development into what I'd call an "expert" has been outstanding.

I encourage you to visit his site at

Which takes me to "Return on Influence" I was looking through Mark's list of accomplishments, and came across reference to a conversation he's started on a new web site ( with Steve Hardiman. They briefly touch on topics like shared potential by producers and consumers, abandoning traditional return on investment metrics, and that social "currency" can't be treated like, or thought of like cash.

Interesting.... I hope they continue the line of thinking.

On the topic, I came across Joe Marchese's blog post titled ROI Is Social Media’s New ROI. Although written with the marketing/advertising space in mind, he does talk about return on influencing requiring more investment in the creative side v.s. the production / distribution side.

Joe's last paragraph in the blog states: "The takeaway is this: if all advertisers are looking at is immediate return on investment, there is a good chance they are missing the real potential for maximizing their investment in social media — and probably spending way too much in the process. But it’s not the advertiser’s fault entirely; the platform hasn’t been built that efficiently facilitates accessing the type of brand-building influence offered by social media … yet."

Obviously, the same is true for private and public sector organizations. And like any good discussion, good answers create more good questions.

No comments: