Saw an interesting blog and comment discussion over at 1to1 media around the ROI of social media initiatives. While the blog claims some ROI numbers and formulas are forthcoming, I predict the metrics will be less around sales conversions, but rather further back in the pipeline.
As Paul Greenberg notes, social media is not a closing tool. I mean, how many deals are going to commit via a Twitter message?
So, what kinds of metrics should be measured in terms of gauging social media success?
How about, how many “conversations” (not conversions) that lead to leads? How many opportunities were originated via a social media source? How much growth in a sales agents’ or department’s network or reach?
There are some more marketing focused metrics that could be analyzed as well – how many times does your brand pop up in keyword searches across social media like Twitter? How many followers do your branded accounts have – size of networks type analysis.
I think it would be dangerous to expect sales conversion rates to improve. Now, time to close and other metrics might – and I hope people start thinking about the intangible benefits as well as the tangible.