This is a reply to a post on the ACT! Leadership Blog
It seems to be a common error that those new to social media make... they want to know how it will help in sales or marketing, but it's neither of these.
I think it's really important to note that with Social Media, you need to look at ROI as Return on Involvement.... but there doesn't seem to be a way to determine the success metrics. Maybe Google or some other innovator will design a way to compare good comments Vs bad ones?
However, this is where the new wave of consumers are looking for their information as I discussed in this previous blog post. Additionally, you can't set up accounts on these sites and hope it will help you.
It's necessary to actually be involved and engage with your contacts in a way many companies are uncomfortable with. The need to reply quickly and personally can be seen as anathema to organisations used to having their marketing message cleared by several levels of management and the legal department. There is the justifiable fear that confidential content may be (intentionally or not) released prematurely.
On the other hand, it may result in these organisations having to become more nimble and responsive to issues raised by consumers to prevent a viral PR headache. An example of this was shown recently when a user had spent over a month getting delays with a mortgage from an Australian Bank. After a post on Twitter, she was contacted in just over an hour by a senior manager who offered to help in resolving the issue. Personally, I have experienced similar benefit when I had an issue with my ISP and a post on Twitter was acted on faster than calls to their support centre.
It is good to see large companies that are typically conservative like Sage working to embrace this new media – both in utilising it for bi-directional communications and in encouraging open discussions with users to request suggestions in how to best incorporate these technologies in their products. This has involved a cultural change that I believe has been very positive for Sage’s partners and users.
If there is truth to the proverbial curse “may you live in interesting times”, I’d say they are here.