What am I really trying to measure? A Conversation?

So I have been thinking a bit about all these various discussions relevant to Social Media and how to measure success. People want a metric…they want to measure something! Whether it is the “SIZE” of the community, the number of leads, or the amount of revenue generated, etc.

I just read an excellent blog post by Amber Naslund titled: “How I made $100K with Twitter.” This was such a great post, but what I walked away from this post was this simple point, you get as much as you put into it. I know that sounds so elementary, but it is so true.

“The magic in making money with social media isn’t that the site or social network becomes a revenue center itself. I didn’t sell stuff on Twitter. I gave people access to me and my expertise, and paid attention to when the time might be right to talk business.” Amber Naslund, Radian6

So what are we trying to measure? If we are business people,  we want to know that we will get something in return for the time we invest into this medium. If we are a large company, we want to measure the scale of time as it directly relates to the revenue or sales it generates. If we are a cause or advocacy group, we want to measure the reach of our message; basically how many people we can communicate and get them reciprocate the message.

This is what I want to measure:

  • Connectivity is increasing: I want to know that my community is growing and I can continue to connect with other smart people.
  • Revenue is increasing: I want to know that the number of people I am reaching has some direct effect on the revenue I generate.
  • Generation of New Ideas: I want my ever increasing connectivity to help me to become more innovative.
  • My “Competition”: I want to be able to engage and watch what my “competitors” are doing as they innovate.
  • Reciprocity: I want to know that if I am sharing, others are sharing back.
  • Clicks: I want to measure if people are clicking what I want them to click.

I think of the ole education story. Remember back when we went to college, and it was hard to get up in the morning for that 8am class. Sometimes we would skip and wonder what we missed? Then there are some of us that might have been perpetual skippers and wonder why we could not get good grades. I was one of those people. But my academic advisor told me this, your success in the classroom dramatically increases if you just show up for class. Think about that statement for a second. Your success can be attributed to the amount of time you engage.

I think the same thing is true for any portal of conversation you choose to find value. The more you engage in the conversation, the bigger return. The key word here is conversation…not dictatorship. People want conversations, opportunities to grow, listen, and to be heard. People want to share with like minded people. If you are in the business world, they want to share business with people that understand how to solve their problems. This goes back to listening .

So here is my metric: I can directly correlate the number of times I listen to the amount of meaningful conversations I have, whether it is business or personal. If I listen, I can help people solve problems. If I am a good listener, then my network is big…AND if I can’t solve the problem, there is someone in my network that can probably help solve that problem.

What stories are you listening to today?

BTW, here is a good discussion Social Media ROI from Olivier Blanchard. I think the guy is smart and has figured this out.