I have attempted in a few of my blog entries to calculate a traditional ROI on social media tools for all of us out there experimenting with them. (see Calculating ROI on Web 2.0 tools and More Thoughts on Calculating the ROI of Blogging)
But I am beginning to think there is a completely new way to view social media ROI, and that’s Return on Influence!
For most of us, traditional Web analytics are not sufficient to measure, track and compare the results from social media. So perhaps that requires a completely new and different set of metrics.
For example, the Conversation Index (a term coined by blogger Stowe Boyd) is the ratio between blog posts and comments plus trackbacks. It is simple and measures whether or not a blogger is getting a response from his or her audience.
Add to that Technorati’s Authority and Rank measure for blogs, and you start to have a completely different set of measure and metrics. When you combine those with page views and clicks, you begin to get the true picture.
Like with technology products, a set of standards is what we are all looking for in social media. ROI – Return on Influence – may sound like a new catch phrase. But it also can be a wrapper for an emerging set of standards by which we can measure our social media initiatives.