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Chasing Social Media Results?

As 2010 begins a new year it seems that the marketplace is  consumed with measuring the return on investment from  social media activities.  The demand for measurement of ROI will distract the marketplace from learning new methods to create ROI or it will create new leaders who focus on the “intent” which produces an ROI.

In an article in Mediapost titled 2010: The Year Social Marketing Gets Serious Laurie Sullivan writes: “Marketers will need to start justifying social marketing plans with business cases, objectives and metrics, as the medium moves out of the test phase.”

“Forrester Research released a list Monday of social computing prediction for 2010. The report suggests that companies that create social councils — cross-functional teams aimed at sharing ideas about social media — will begin to get serious about budgets and structure for these groups. Expect the teams to become strategists. Efforts will likely include policies.”

“The report also suggests that an increasing number of marketers will adopt listening platforms to monitor social media, Twitter will become more profitable or get acquired, Facebook will take a hands-on approach to protecting members, and incompatible mobile devices in siloed application will shatter the social experience.”

“Forrester Analyst Augie Ray says in 2010, those who hold the purse strings for budgets will want to see results. “It’s the year social marketing gets serious,” he says.”


Engaging in the marketplace of conversations has become main stream, expected and simply the new method of how markets should operate. Since the process is still new many are trying to apply old methods and old thinking with the ability to engage with many for difference purposes. Markets are now trying to measure the benefit of engagement and screaming for an ROI on the investment of time and expense.

The irony of current behaviors is that the intent is transparent. Marketers want to produce results from us and don’t realize how transparent their intent is to the new marketplace. Intent is the real measurement of effective engagement and the measure of intent is reflected by how well you serve the market of interest.

The focus and demand on results is akin to playing tennis by watching the scoreboard. Demanding measures for results is typical of old management thinking without taking the time to understand that which creates the results. Being consumed with marketing elements of social technology is silo thinking. Unless any organization learns to “connect” communications and understand the issues that impact the sentiment of communications then all “intents” to create a result will be misguided.

The banking industry chased results. They got the short term result only to create an collapse of our entire economic system then they had to be rescued by we the tax payer. The irony is that using “social media” to create results is reasonable but using it wrong may created the wrong result. Wrong results and measuring the wrong thing will create long term rejection with no rescue.

Input into communication processes creates output which leads to a result. Social media input represents thinking about the intentions of the marketplace you want to reach and serve. The intentions of the marketplace may be and usually are different than the intentions of the supplier. To influence end results means suppliers need to match their intentions with that of the buyer. Notice that buyers typically do not market anything rather they express wants, needs and desires reflected within their conversations.

Try measuring the ROI of your intent. Maybe 2010 ought to be focused on serious thinking about intent.  Chasing implies you are not leading. Lead and you can influence others to follow.

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