Will social media make money? Does it make sense? Does a successful pitch depend on having ROI figures?
The panelists were torn on this question. Some were strong advocates for measuring and showing business impact (Peter Kim) while others went under the radar and managed to get buy in with fewer metrics.
Caldwell: AHA is dependent on donor dollars, so every dollar needs to be justified. They did need ROI to get executive buy in and used REACH as their metric. They showed examples / scenarios and built a financial model to justify what they were planning. They spent 6 weeks building their case to their board.
What financial metrics, aside from ad revenue, make sense?
Peter Kim's approach: equivalency - costs compared to the alternatives. For example, how much would digital advertising cost. How do you build ROI? He responds, building ROI is more an art than a science; the right answer is that it depends on your operating structure.
The next topic - what are the top non financial challenges?
Sims: Focus on what can social media do for customers *first*? Then, what resources do you have to make small successes?
Caroe: Company culture - if there is a culture with an issue with lack of control, this is an indicator that you are not ready.
I don't fully agree with these points, but I understand where they are coming from. Focusing on customer value before examining resources may lead you down a path where you are planning for a scenario that in unrealistic given your resources. Also, as Peter points out later in the session, there are ways social media can help you keep control of your brand.
How about legal issues? What does your legal department say about what you are doing in your social media project?
Caldwell: AHA is working with legal right now. They got in under the legal radar, but they are now gaining attention from that department. They use Yammer internally and also use Facebook groups. They are developing a set of employee guidelines that are similar to the IBM & MS blogging guidelines. Essentially they boil down to - and I quote - "Don't be stupid. Use your best judgement". Some AHA projects were done without executive buy in but they did seek out some executive support (i.e. Director of Corporate Communications). They then said they had someone from legal working with them from the start, but that contradicts their earlier statement so perhaps I misunderstood.
Sims: if a competitor is doing something, it is easier for you to make the case to your executive board.
Kim: Rather than just focusing on ROI, address some of the wide set misconceptions about social media. For example, executives tend to feel that they need to give up control in their social media projects. You can retain control, and even gain more control, over your brand with social media. Combat sensationalist fears.
Does the scenario chance from UK to US?
Caroe: UK faces very similar concerns as in the US. She gave a nod to Lee Bryant from Headshift.
How do you suggest getting started?
Kim: He worked with a regulated industry who wanted to blog. They needed to change their scope and focus to make it work. They got momentum behind a core set of bloggers.
Sims: Start small; not a massive change of culture all at once.
Who's more or less supportive of Social media?
Kim: He sees evangelists / enthusiasts / sponsors from all departments. Misconception of young people magically wired to change the company with social media. Look to John Chambers from Cisco and Scott Cook from Intuit as social media minded CEOs. Also PnG Digital Hack Day as an example.
Caldwell: He doesn't really see patterns of roles, but patterns in attitude; i.e. fear of loss of control
Caroe: UK is less tolerant of failure.
Examples of failures?
Caldwell: In their "Go red for women" campaign, they solicited videos on Facebook. They had 2500 videos to go through and screen within one weekend. If you open yourself up, make sure you have the resources to respond.
Kim: If you can measure it you can manage it
Top challenge to get social media project approved?
Kim: be realistic.
Caroe: don't over engineer
Caldwell: show business value
Top way to ensure success?
Kim: good planning
Caroe: show results
Caldwell: monitor progress
Sim: know what metrics you need to measure
Does social media in the workplace make people less productive?
Caldwell: There is a fear that everyone will be playing on Secondlife and Facebook instead of work. Sound familiar? We faced the same thing with bringing in the internet - everyone will be surfing all day! And the same thing with computers - everyone will be playing solitaire all day!
My first SXSW session ended up being a good choice, and it was packed. The session was a panel hosted by Small World Labs. I've been to other panels by them in the past and they do a great job with them. The panel was led by Miles Sims (@milessims) of Small World Labs and included Peter Kim (@peterkim) from Dachis Corporation, Michael Wilson (@wilsonmichael) from Small World Labs, Rebecca Caroe (@rebeccacaroe) from CreativeAgencySecrets.com and Christian Caldwell (@xian3000) from American Heart Association.
The first topic of the panel was ROI, framed in terms such as: