The ROI of Social Media (Day 9)

Let me start with a joke:

Two mice were talking. One really wanted a girl friend, so he asked the other one: ” heya, maybe you can introduce me a nice single female that you know?” The other one took out a picture from the pocket,saying: “I do know one! here it is, how about this girl? ” He looked at the picture and got angry: “What do you mean? She is a bat! ” His friend said: “Oh come on dude, she is an air hostess.”

When I was a kid, I believed that bat is a mouse with wings, since they have the same face. But is mouse with wings bat? Biologists point out that in fact bat is bat, mouse is mouse, they are completely two different species. And today  my assignment is on the ROI (Return of Investment)of social media,  and I have spent a whole morning doing useless research on data analysis and ROI softwares until Mr.D threw me a similar question: “Is social media campaign social media? “I was speechless. I realized that I made the old mistake as I made on the mouse and bat thing.

Social Media and Social Media Campaign is not equal to each other. Social Media is for people to share online whilst Social Media Campaign is for people to do online promotion for specific productions. The former is long-term activities and a direct dialogue happens every second, but the latter is only a short-term advertisement with social media as its platform, happens in specific period.

Gary Vaynerchuk used a hilarious metaphor when received question as “how to measure the ROI of social media”. He fiercely claimed that all those datas on business we obtained could not measure the ROI of social media, and the real financial value lies on the relationship with consumer/customers. In other words, the ROI of social media campaign is about money and profits, the ROI of social media is about conversations.

It is indicated that “The problem with trying to determine ROI for social media is you are trying to put numeric quantitifes around human interactions and conversations, which are not quantifiable.” And the truth is it is not easy to measure the ROI of social media, even if a production’s advertisement  received million of “like” through facebook page. People who click “like” don’t need to purchase the production, so the “like” only hints the influence that imposed by  social media. And for those profits that company really makes are from people who buy this production for sure.

It sounds very abstract. Comparably speaking, what the ROI of social media campaign always report are brand exposures, traffic (comments on contents),  cost of sale, time to sale etc. but the ROI of social media concerns are the real increase in sale and quality of relationships. (more information please see here). However, for both of them, the ROI is not easy to calculate. It needs huge work to do, even not easier than a rocket surgery.

During the lunch, we watched another speech by Gary Vaynerchuk, who talked about how necessary for business to adapt to social media. Afterwards, I was surrounded by curiosities as “How about China?”.  Unfortunately, as a Chinese citizen who grows up inside the Great Fire Wall, I have no idea on the related development of social media business either. Probably China will make use of their own internet wonderland and continually loosing their connection with the whole world.

Knowing that I am discovering the social media world recently, my friends on my Chinese twitter (which is a product made in China) complain that global social media sites abandon China, because they ignore the power of 42 million Chinese netizens. But the fact is that it is China who abandon the globe first.Predicting the future of social media development in China, I am afraid that is even more complicated than ROI. God Bless.

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