If you’ve been reading the blog posts this week about social media and measurement, you owe it to yourself to read the fascinating comment section under the article The biggest lie in social media marketing. Smart people read this blog!!

One commentary from Trey Pennington reflects a common obstacle for many of us — a clear management double standard regarding social media versus traditional channels:

I think we’ll all find that measuring ROI for social media isn’t really that challenging … yes, ROI is exclusively a dollar denominated (or percentage) measure. If you’re not measuring dollars back in/dollars out, then you’re not measuring ROI.

That being said, Dave Lahkani makes a good point in his new post: the discussion about social media ROI is an excuse. Because people touting social media keep talking in circles about ROI, executives know they can squash a new idea just by questioning “ROI.” Besides, they sound really smart using an acronym.

Do those same executives debate the ROI of their executive perks? Their bonuses? Conferences? Or, do they really spend that much time pondering the ROI for THEIR favorite media?

I once worked with a large B2B firm that spent 1/2 of it’s entire marketing/advertising/PR/IR budget on display advertising in trade magazines. Even after I showed them a media buyer’s study documenting their target market did not read the trade pubs, they continued the trade flight. Why? Because their head-to-head competitor did. (I wonder if the competitor was doing the same thing!)

Bottom line: we need to merely document the impact engagement through social media has on financial performance and be bold at engaging while we do.

This is Part Six of a series examining social media marketing measurement.

Part 2: Social media ROI shock treatment

Part 3: Irresponsible social media measurement research

Part 4: Social media impact on brand equity

Part 5: The most important question to ask in social media marketing

Part 6: A double standard for social media marketing?

Part 7: Yes, it IS about the money!

Part 8: Creating a measurement plan

Part 9: Measurement is like a bartender

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