If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that I am a big proponent of measuring social media. I’m bullish on measuring social media because I believe there are so many incredible ways to measure social media success that  the larger challenge is narrowing down your goals.While I have a methodology that I use, there are literally thousands of tools to help you measure social media.

But it struck me. Perhaps we are asking the wrong question. Regardless of the measurement opportunities, we still hear the same questions over and over again, “what’s the ROI of a social media?” or “Is it worth measuring?”

So let me ask you. What is the ROI of silence? Of ignoring conversations? Ignoring customers?  What do you get from that? Exactly how does that help increase sales, develop brand awareness, decrease customer service costs or any of the other goals you’ve set forth?

Interesting question isn’t it?

At the very least, most companies should be at the “listening” phase right now. For a variety of reasons you may not choose to write blog posts, create videos, design inforgraphics. I’m not necessarily advocating that,  however, with the massive stream of information and what Brian Solis has termed “Stream Fatigue”, there may be additional benefits to simply listening and responding to relevant conversations. But to be part of the conversation, you do have to be a participant. And anyone who has participated in social media can speak to the viscerally intimate insight that can come from listening. The kind of insight that a spreadsheet may not give you. Its as my father used to say to me: “You have two ears and one mouth for a reason.” He normally said that in a fit of frustration of having a mouthy teenaged daughter (I only grew out of the teenaged part). But he was right (oh, if he could hear me now, he might ask me to talk more).

Companies spend huge sums of money on crafting messages, advertising campaigns, PR initiatives and yet, they continue to ignore the most direct line of communication they can have with current, potential and previous customers, advocates and stakeholders. I’m saddened when I send out a positive message about one of my favorite brands and don’t get a response. The essential message is “we’ll listen at our convenience.”  What’s the ROI of THAT message? Why bother spending all that money on crafting messages and creating ads when the loudest and most clear message is “We don’t care what you have to say.”

Think about it. Let me know what you think!

 

 

 

 

PS: Interested in listening? Check out this wiki.

Image courtesy of Copyright Brian Robert Marshall and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence