For today’s communications pro, it’s the $64,000 question. When you describe it, your clients roll their eyes. When you report it, you’re lampooned. If you’re honest with yourself, you know that every now and then you fake it.
And yet, the requests for it never stop.
What is “it”? It’s the return on investment (ROI) of social media. After all, if you can’t measure it, you can’t market it.
A version of this blog post appeared on Tech Cocktail on October 21, 2011.
Every hack authoring an article and every flack penning a proposal has encountered The Question: how many users does this social network have? Sure, you can Google the answers, but then you run into the problem of making sure that your source is authoritative, current, and doesn’t confuse active users (those who log in at least once a month) with total users (your grandmother, who, after signing up, gave up).
Here, then, a new offering from Tech Cocktail: a continuously updated Google Doc that lists the number of active users for the big social networks (see the embedded spreadsheet above or click here).
It took a recession, but resumes finally are receiving renewed scrutiny. The ability to embellish and obscure shrinks when one out of every six workers is under or unemployed. More than ever, recruiters want to see accomplishments, not responsibilities; numbers, not adverbs.
Certain professions have it easier than others. If you're a lobbyist, you cite legislation passed or defeated. If you're a fundraiser, you count dollars raised. If you're a political operative, you record a win-loss record.
Alas, if you're a social media consultant, you probably shun such metrics. Sure, you've helped clients tweet and blog, but who among us hasn’t? Sure, you have 10 years of experience, but what have you achieved?