While this is promising news for the communications and advertising world, it immediately made me think, “with more money comes greater responsibility.”
Almost everyone who touches social media is still grappling with how best to measure and quantify the ROI of these programs. Can you put a dollar value on a Facebook fan? What is a Facebook “Like” and a retweet on Twitter really worth? At a Red Door Interactive digital measurement panel I attended last week, Nancy Koons, senior web analyst at Vail Resorts, made a comment that really resonated with me. She said that at Vail Resorts there is an internal acceptance that the numerical data collected from the corporation’s social media usage does not account for the unseen, intangible strategic value of social networking for the brand. For a company of their size, I thought it was exciting and noteworthy that the executives still see the value of social media even though a pie chart may say otherwise.
I believe it is our industry’s responsibility to marry the quantitative with the qualitative in order to help our clients understand how their investment in social media is impacting their brand – be it brand awareness, customer engagement or reputation management. If we collectively fail as an industry to demonstrate success in a manner that resonates with the marketers and executives who are willing to invest in the digital world, we may never have the opportunity to identify just how powerful social media can be for connecting brands with end-users.