Delivering ROI on Social Media

Posted on September 5th 2008

My last post discussed why the nature of social media need not be compromised by pursuing lead generation through these new media.

Today, let's turn to some examples of how B2B marketers are embracing social media for this purpose.

A few weeks ago, McKinsey & Company released the results of their latest survey on social media: Building the Web 2.0 Enterprise: McKinsey Global Survey Results. The buzz on this report included a post from Peter Kim, a fellow Social Media Today blogger.

The McKinsey survey struck a chord with me in that 94% of responding executives deployed Web 2.0 media targeting internal parties versus 87% who interfaced with customers. This indicates an almost equal propensity to use these tools to communicate to both external and internal parties.

In targeting customers, improving customer service and acquiring new customers in internal markets were #1 (73%) and #2 (71%) respectively.

In other words, a significant proportion of survey respondents are using Web 2.0 tools for customer acquisition.

So if organizations are using social media to acquire customers, then how can we measure ROI?

An easy answer lies with blogging - the rainmaker of social media.

If your goal is to attract visitors to your website, blogs are an ideal medium to publish fresh, relevant content with keywords that attract the search engines like bees to honey.

Leads generated from organic or natural search results are of higher quality and are more likely to convert to qualified leads than any other medium. You can ask yourself: what is the value of a page one search result on Google?

Bingo! ROI can be calculated based on the value of qualified leads and closed sales generated through organic search. (Personal note: this week I closed a $20,000 account that found my organization through organic search and whom we never would have targeted with our outbound marketing efforts).

In a much less scientific method than McKinsey, I asked a question on LinkedIn Answers to see if marketers were using blogs to enhance their organic (or SEO) page rank and to gauge the impact on their business development.

Here are the highlights:
These small organizations have demonstrated high ROI on social media through blogging and can easily quantify the benefits.

Do you know of other organizations who have a similar perspective on generating ROI through social media such as blogging?
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