During the one-hour session called “Getting to Social ROI: Black & White and Lots of Gray,” Wheeler explained that ROI is an industry catch-phrase used by executives and senior management, but isn’t necessarily the best way to evaluate social media.
Rather than looking at ROI, marketers should look at measuring social media through engagement, retention and awareness levels and “get over the hump of trying to look at it in monetary terms,” said Wheeler.
But because some value can be measured financially, Wheeler offered a few suggestions for marketers concentrating on the bottom line.
Clearly define business, marketing and consumer objectives, he said. This is often harder than it seems. Often markers will say, “I want to be on Facebook. I want to be on Twitter.” These aren’t objectives as much as they are tactics, said Wheeler. Objectives need to be measurable and achievable.
For example, a marketing objective would be to “improve the usability of the homepage and [online] navigation to increase clarity of the path into consideration and ultimately [sales] conversion.”
Wheeler also stressed how important it is to involve all members of the organization – leadership, digital communications, PR, customer service – which is a hurdle many social media practitioners and managers need to overcome.