Social Media ROI: Why the Status Quo is Broken

One of the hottest topics within the social social-media-roi-is-brokenmedia space is ROI or return on investment. The problem with the formula is that marketers don’t have the ability to connect 10 interactions on 10 different social networks to bottom line revenue or cost reduction.

Sure, we can use correlation, but I think we can do better than that.

Connecting the Dots

What if all the social networks and online marketing tools came up with a compatible connection to all Customer Relationship Management Software and Web Analytics? In the near term, I don’t see this happening, which is why I ask “What if?”. Marshall Sponder “aka Web Metrics Guru” presented the case of moving forward with social analytics in this piece back in 2010.

What Needs to Happen

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Marshall Sponder argued that social media metrics need to be standardized to a certain degree if we are going to be able to connect the dots.

I agree.

Will this be easy to accomplish? No.

Why? Social networks are competing against each other, and the moment their metrics become standardized, they argue that it will stifle innovation (touché social networks).

I propose at least that social networks and online marketing tools come to an agreement that providing a common key for integrating social data into CRM’s is priority for continued investment by businesses, large and small. Then it will be the CRM developers’ job to create a platform for API submissions (api is the connection of social data to other software or websites). Google Analytics has the right idea here.


The next challenge is offering CRM systems that integrate with social and online data at an efficient cost. Unfortunately, the SMB market will not pay the price for something like this yet. At least building this layer into existing systems will be a step forward. Who’s up for building the “NEXT” (Steve Jobs reference) of CRMs?

That’s all for today, I must go measure the immeasurable now………….

What do you think? Possible? Costly?

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