What’s the value?

There is an excellent article on computerworld.com that focuses on Twitter ROI. It’s worth a read.

At AHA, we’re often asked what the value is of social media and what the ROI will be for the organization. It’s a valid question and one that should be answered before any organization jumps into social media. We say it time and time again, while we believe that everyone should know what is being said online about their organization, their competitors, their field, their industry – not every organization should necessarily be participating. For some, there may not be any ROI.

For some organizations the ROI is clear, it’s business development or retail sales. For others, it might be establishing credibility, raising awareness of a campaign, increasing the profile of their organization or a program offered, or changing behaviours. It could also provide an opportunity to more clearly understand what stakeholders or your community are thinking, how they perceive your organization, or what they want/need/expect from you.  It all starts with first understanding what you hope to achieve (your objectives) and then defining the tools that will help you to meet those objectives.

We had a potential client visit the AHA office the other day and early in the conversation he asked: “What would my return on investment be with social media?” Our question back was: “What is it that you want to achieve, let’s start there before we look at what the right tools might be and how to measure success.” But he was stuck on what the social media ROI would be before he defined his objectives. That’s a little like saying I want to know how dinner is going to taste before you decide what to make.

Every campaign should be evaluated against criteria set during the planning stages. The way we approach this at AHA is to understand where your organization sits at the start, to closely monitor the results during the campaign, make adjustments as necessary, and then to review and analyze the successes and failures afterwards against the objectives. It’s a little blend of science and art, and then it builds on itself. The next campaign not only has its own set of criteria, but also can be viewed in the context of the first campaign, which provides more information to assist you as you continue to move forward. Depending on what you need, there is a great deal of value to be gained from using both social media and traditional PR tools. The key is to define what you need, what the right tools are and to clearly understand the landscape from the start so that you can compare start and finish.

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