I know social media is about “relationships.” I get it … I really do. But if you are responsible for a social media initiative for your company, somebody is eventually going to ask you, “Where’s my money, honey?”
In a business setting, social media relationships must eventually lead to making or saving money. Of course they do. Every activity of the enterprise is tied to that in some way. So, why does this opinion create such a violent reaction in people?

The fact that I think you should be focused on the quantifiable business benefits of social media marketing seems to put me squarely at odds with many thought leaders right now. This quote from a very respected blogger still haunts me:

“When you ask businesses why they are participating in social media, what do they say? If they say, “to make money,” then they will fail, because currency in the social web is found in both relationships and content.”

Another leading observer opined yesterday that his “economy is relationships.”

An economy is not relationships. An economy is an exchange of goods and services. If the relationships contribute to that exchange, fine. But it all has to lead to business value at some point. You can’t feed your kids by increasing your “followers” or the number of people who have friended you on Facebook.

How is social media marketing any different from holding a company open house for community leaders or hosting a dinner to get to know some potential customers? Are those things about building trust and relationships? Yes, of course! But we also have no problem admitting that the ultimate goal is to burnish our image with these influencers to improve our chance of business success. Why are we so intent on carving out a special little place in the sun — where results don’t matter — for the social web?

The world would be so much easier if we didn’t have to be accountable for results. But that’s not the way business works. A company exists to create shareholder value, so that’s what you should do — and be PROUD of it!
Tomorrow, ideas on what measurements make sense for your business.
This is part 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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