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Trend ’07, maturing of social media ROI discussion

I think one of the main “trends” of 2007 was the maturing of the discussion/idea of social media and the relationship it has with business/consumer (person)/brand. I’ve been reading some great ROI discussions that really illustrate how far the strategic thinking has come. I’m going to kid myself and say that over the holiday break I’m going to try and gather as many of these good thoughts and put them into a great client slideshare…but we all know that it is a very lofty holiday goal.

Additional suggested reading (besides from my last social media ROI round post), ROI and what it can achieve –

Stepping back from tactics, what are we going to achieve? What will we effect? Earlier this year Tom from WME Blogs post Extending Forrester’s Blog ROI matrix explores benefit, metric value. I wish I would have seen this earlier, it would have helped with the question I was getting time and time again – why does social media matter again? A article from iMedia Connection: Keys to social media pairs with this to help start thinking how getting your plan going. Along similar lines is 7 Idea for Social Media and Business from Patrick Schaber at the Lonely Marketer. And for those clients/bosses who need it more black and white, Emergence Marketing does a great job laying it down to bare bones, ex:

The Viral Garden has another post I’m thinking I should just spam my office with, understanding the value of blogging. While it does get into Google Page Rank and other analytics, the most important part is that while numbers are nice – consumers are into conversations and we need to understand what value blogs bring as a community building tool. Laddering up, its not about being stone face company anymore – need to start living and breathing, need to start “communicating”.

But to put some real “numbers” to social media, Tom from MotiveQuest is working with Northwestern University to develop an Online Promoter Score. I think we’ll see more more tools like this in the near future. I like this idea of the Online Promoter score…but I wonder what is under the hood. I know from other studies last year social media and brand engagement were having a hard time correlating to market share and sales because of ‘chicken/egg’. Does sales lead to more social media/brand engagement or do social media/brand engagement lead to more sales? And is it strictly social media/brand engagement or was it a really good online marketing program, SEO program and offline promotion that drove chatter? (And honestly, I’m not sure we really should be separating chicken/egg).

Moving forward into 2008, I really see a breaking out of social media campaigns (if not happening already). I think the tipping point is just about here – broadband adoption(, social media consumer usage(, smart thinking on social media (Jeremiah Owyang). I mean if my mother found a blog...yours will too. What is making me nervous is when a blogging/wiki/flickr/social network gets mashed and dumbed down enough (no offense mother) for even my mother to use( This social media thing might really take off…