Birddog

The Definition of Social ROI

By Scot McKeeScot McKee

I’m becoming a little tired of knobs using ‘socialisms’ – words and phrases that sound like English, but aren’t. They’re intended to make the user appear desperately clever and the recipient stupid. ‘Monetizatory’. ‘Accessibilitization’. ‘Engagementized’. And the rest. Knobs, the lot of them.

Wednesday 14th March, 2012

Social media requires a degree of initiative and a willingness to experiment. Not much else. Clients would like immediate ROI, but that’s incompatible with the social medium and making up words like ‘inter-engagementary’ is a poor alternative to just saying, “You can’t have immediate ROI”. Social media offers an opportunity for brands to engage with customers and prospects on the customer’s terms and you need to view ROI as a longer-term goal. It doesn’t need to be any more complex, we shouldn’t attempt to justify it any further and we certainly don’t need to make up wank-words.

Agencies pushing the agenda are using language to make the simple appear complex in the hope that it also becomes more believable or valuable. Clients remain unable to justify investment in something that has no logical or immediate value to the traditional marketing model.

I don’t actually care. What I care about is my Pushmepullyou from Prycie.

In a random conversation with @Prycie on Twitter, she asked me what my, “Fave animal,” was. I picked a Pushmepullyou from Dr. Doolittle. Obviously. Within a few minutes Prycie had sent me a left-handed drawing of a Pushmepullyou. She had cut a tendon on her right arm, so was using her left hand. She shared photos of the post-operative scars and the cast on her arm and we chatted about her other drawings too – the slow loris, the elephant

That’s it. That’s all there is to this story. Prycie isn’t a client or a prospect. I’ve never met her. Our conversation could be measured as a quantifiable ‘engagement’ or ‘interaction’ or whatever the corporate machine is chasing as justification for the time invested, but I’m not going to. It just ‘was’. One small example of the shit that goes down in the social world thousands of times a minute every day.

The value of social media (beyond the immediate enjoyment of the conversation itself) isn’t going to be felt in engagements or interactions. Measure them by all means, but that’s just a score and the score doesn’t represent ‘value’. The value is derived from the on-going and cumulative influence of individual and/or brand personality within a growing online community.

I received an email from someone the following week that started, “I saw the Pushmepullyou picture last week and laughed. It started me thinking and I was wondering if you could help with my latest challenge…” That email was from a prospective client hiding in the shadows and listening somewhere from within my online community. I didn’t know that. I wasn’t expecting the email. I didn’t care about that either. But I care now – because in their own good time, the prospect has decided that I might be able to help.

That’s where the value is. We really don’t need big made-up words because it’s all pretty obvious. B2B brands are still trying to push ‘the sale’. In a social economy, brands should allow customers to buy when they’re ready. It’s all about the ‘Pullme’, not the ‘Pushyou’. It’s a different kind of animal.


Scot McKee
Managing Director
Birddog Ltd.

+44 20 7323 6666
Twitter: @ScotMcKee
LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/scotmckee
Books: http://is.gd/mckeebooks

Article by Scot McKee