Learning About The ROI of Social Media and Online Communities

BILLS29 I have been studying the social computing trend and watching how it is crossing over from “consumerland” to “enterpriseland” for some time now.  One of the biggest barriers to enterprise adoption is convincing decision makers that there are real business benefits. 

I’ve been running a successful internal community at IBM for 10 years and as such I’ve been interested in applying social computing tools to help community members share content, comment on content, and collaborate on topics of interest.  As a community leader, I can see the value of the community on a daily basis.  However, the executives up the management chain always want to know what the hard business benefits are.  They ask “What’s the dollar return on all this time you are putting in?

Additionally, for the last couple of years, I’ve been helping fellow colleagues launch external community and social media efforts designed to engage customers and partners in social computing spaces where we can engage in conversations, share content, and learn from each other.   Again, those of us involved in these efforts understand that the business is benefiting from the impact of these online community and social media efforts.  However, as it is with the internal efforts, the management chain wants to see what the value to the business truly is via metrics and ROI.

I understand the need to measure and report back on any investments of time, money, resources.  At the same time the ROI of social media and communities is very hard to measure.   As this question is important to all of us involved in these efforts, I thought I take some time to do some research on the Net to see what I could find on the topic of Social Media and ROI.  So I launched into a keyword searching project the last few days.

About halfway into my research I found a February 2, 2009 post by Robin Broitman of Interactive Insights Group that provided a long list of resources.  Robin put together a post that is part of a number of helpful “Superlists” that IIG has posted over the last few years.   The Feb 2009 post provides a long list of resources and links regarding social media metrics.  Its a fantastic post for anyone interested in this subject.  Check it out here Social Media Metrics Superlist: Measurement, ROI, & Key Statistics Resources.   

But I continued in my research to see what resources I could uncover that were posted/published since February of 2009.  So here are other resources I uncovered during my research.  I’ve sorted the list below alphabetically…could not figure a better way to do it. 

For those of you interested in the Social Media ROI topic, I hope this gives you a reference list of resources you can use to further your own understanding of the issues of measuring social media tactics….and then apply that learning to help justify your social media strategies.   I plan on using the list myself to do the same. 

Let me know if you know of other resources, reports, case studies that talk about the real hard business benefits being achieved via social media AND online communities. 

One thought on “Learning About The ROI of Social Media and Online Communities

  1. I’ve been interested in applying social computing tools to help community members share content, comment on content, and collaborate on topics of interest. As a community leader, I can see the value of the community on a daily basis. However, the executives up the management chain always want to know what the hard business benefits are. They ask “What’s the dollar return on all this time you are putting in?

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