With all the emphasis on social media ROI you would think that companies believe that social media is a production line in a factory.This mentality is reflective of how management thinking is still in the industrial era.
Production thinking is about producing something for consumption by the masses. The results of “production” are reflected by subtracting the gross revenue from the cost. Thus the emphasis is placed on selling more to make more. To enhance sales opportunities companies adopted marketing strategies and tactics.
The process of marketing has been focused on reaching the masses using numerous forms of media. Marketing has been designed to create attention and awareness of an offering targeted to a specific audience. Marketing followed “production thinking”. The more we market the more sales we’ll “produce”.
The model of “production thinking” creates environments in which “people” are used to “produce more” at less cost. The aim is to make profits from producing more and production is enhanced by optimizing people, processes and technology. Management methods to optimize production evolved around measuring anything and everything with the aim of finding out how effective people, processes and technology are at producing a results. The problem is the “production model” is that the people part has changed while the model for using people has not.
Now Measure Social Media Production
The internet has changed a lot of things for people and business. Every evolution of the internet creates yet another change and business tries to apply old management methods and thinking to these changes. The problem is that most of the changes brought on by the internet are centric to how people and markets interact. These interactions are changing how business ought to manage people and markets. People and markets are no longer for use rather both are now the users. The change from being used to being the user means “production models” for business are no longer viable rather the model for has shifted to a “conductor model”.
The term conductor means a person who directs an orchestra or chorus, communicating to the performers by motions of a baton or the hands his or her interpretation of the music. Conductor also means a substance, body, or device that readily conducts heat, electricity, sound.The “conductor model” for business is more about enabling people to conduct commerce, internally and externally, rather than management trying to “produce” commerce with a “production mentality”.
Now reflect on what the social web, and all this social stuff, is creating. The fundamental change is that people are being empowered to “conduct” their own commerce, whether buying, selling or simply conversing. The term commerce deals with the exchange of goods and services from producer to final consumer. The social web is self organized orchestras formed by conversational threads that readily “conduct” ideas, information and knowledge threaded throughout the internet and propagated on most any device.
The optimum business model is one of embracing the “conductor” function aimed at providing people with “ideas, information and knowledge” they in turn can use to produce what they want with their community of friends and followers. Giving people the “right instruments to create their own orchestras” of conversations will ultimate lead to the creation of commerce.
To adopt the “conductor model” for business means you have the recognize that measuring social media ROI is more about measuring your ability to enable people, internally and externally, to use you rather than you using them. Measuring your ability to be used is a lot different than measuring how you use people to use your stuff. To optimize in a world gone “social” it is wiser to think as a conductor rather than a producer.
Conductors measure the synchronization of efforts aimed at giving the audience of people more than they expected. They don’t measure the results of people producing rather what they produce for the people.