At the recent Corporate Social Media Summit in New York City, Richard Binhammer, Dell’s head of social media and corporate-reputation management, said the equation is a little more complicated than simply calculating money in and out. As social media programs evolve, they require a more sophisticated understanding of their benefits, he said.
A few lessons from his talk:
ROI is about more than sales. From many other companies, that would sound like a dodge, but Dell is one of the few companies that’s able to say it uses Twitter as a direct-sales tool. The company hasn’t announced an update to that sales figure in many months because it is thinking about ROI differently, Binhammer said. It’s not only one number because it isn’t only about sales; it’s also about increasing business value, he said.
Remember that social media are only another tool. The problem of social media scalability becomes apparent once you realize that businesses can’t win over a fan one time and then move on, thinking that they’ve made a fan for life. Social media aren’t a channel for pushing communications; they’re a tool for managing relationships. “Control is not as successful as influence,” Binhammer said.
Social media can transform your business. If you aren’t taking into account a network’s ability to affect your brand’s communication strategy, product development and customer service, as well as its sales and marketing potential, you’re not seeing the full ROI of social media. Done properly, social media can increase the value of every part of your organization that affects customers. Organizations shouldn’t be asking how social media are making them money; they should be asking how social media make an organization better. That means social media shouldn’t be run by any one division; they need to be part of every aspect of an organization, Binhammer said.
How are you using social media to increase your organization’s value?