This morning I attended a community get together for clients of Sift, the digital company that built the CMI website. They have lots of professional body clients so it was nice to get together with people in the same world as ourselves. The question on everyones lips was around ROI and how you can measure the impact your community and social media work has for those senior folks in your organisation that just want to see the money.
The ROI for your community should stem from its purpose, which is something you can't start a community without. It's the thing that kinda holds it all together. You have one of those right? Ok, lets move on then. So from the purpose the ROI is split into two main forms. The details will change depending on the purpose of your community, but you should be generating ROI in each of the two forms I'm about to share with you.
- Social ROI – This is the mission statement return for your community. You know the bit where you say you want to save the world, one post at a time. Whatever the purpose of your community is, this is the metric you'll use to measure whether that's working. Lets say the purpose of your community is to help students with their qualifications. Your social ROI could be the number of students that have had a question answered (and the average rating for that answer). This is where you measure how effective your community is at doing what you say it will.
- Business ROI – This is the pound and pence part, the part where you outline how your community will earn you extra money. Now to do this your CRM system has to be enabled for social, so to use the previous example, if Joe Bloggs has been helped with his course on your community you need to be able to record that in his CRM record. That way if he signs up for another course or buys something else of yours, you can give your community the credit it deserves. This is important, because if you don't have that recording capability you'll not know who your engaged customers are, and if you don't know that there's a decent chance you don't know who your best (read most profitable) customers are either. If you don't know that basic information, how can you focus your efforts on the people that really matter?
Measuring ROI for social media or community efforts is not easy, but if you can use these two basic categories it should give you a head start. A tip for you, number of Twitter followers is NOT a good social media ROI