Emphasize Return On Engagement to Measure Social Media

In our previous post, Using Online Promoter™ Score to Measure Social Media Effectiveness, we looked at various social media metrics. In this post, we suggest that emphasizing Return On Engagement (ROE) rather than ROI may be appropriate for social media, especially inside the enterprise.

Economics of Engagement

Emphasize Return On Engagement

Metrics such as Net Promoter Score, Online Promoter Score, and Return On Engagement attempt to do a very difficult thing: measure the quality and effect of relationships.

Think about that. Could you put a monetary value on your relationship with your friends? How about with your coworkers? Just as it is hard to quantify the strength and positive effect of your personal re­lation­ships, so it is difficult to measure the value of online relationships.

Add to this the very different nature of social media, including the Long Tail effect and you can see why there is controversy about how to measure social computing’s effects.

Return On Engagement is relevant not only for your external social media efforts, but also for your internal efforts. According to a 2008 study by Gallup, about 54 percent of employees in the United States are not fully engaged, and 17 percent are actively disengaged. Only 29 percent are engaged.[1] The Gallup organization says:

Research has shown that engaged employees are more productive employees. The research also proves that engaged employees are more profitable, more customer-focused, safer and more likely to withstand temptations to leave. Many have long suspected the connection between an employee’s level of engagement and the level and quality of his or her performance. Our research has laid the matter to rest.

Disengaged employees are more than inert drains on your resources. Employee disengagement is estimated to cost the U.S. economy as much as $350 billion per year in lost productivity, accidents, theft and turnover.

Positive management of internal ROE also will affect your success in your external endeavors, including social computing efforts. Gallup created the above graphic to show the effect of internal engagement on external engagement.

So the concept of ROE is useful outside and inside your organization, making it a doubly useful metric.

Emphasize Return On Engagement to Measure Social Media is the 44th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at http://bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?, Social Sites Defined, Why Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

Next up: Return On Engagement is Not a Numbers Game

[1] Many of the stats in the section come from the excellent article by Enterprise Engagement Alliance called ROE: Return on Engagement bit.ly/adtOW6

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