Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Social Media ROI

What value is there in Social Media for Illinois SHRM?  Are we getting return on investment?  Why should our organization spend money to support social media?  Is it really worthwhile?
Image courtesy Olivier Blanchard’s Basics of Social Media ROI

All of these questions have been posed to me at one time or another.  Typically my answer is we do not spend much money on it. Nearly  all of the resources, we use "socially" are free (Blogger, You Tube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Picasso, and Vimeo) - at least so far. We do pay for website hosting and some administration. In a typical  year a volunteer organization such as Illinois SHRM spends very little money on the workings of Social Media.

We have spent money on people - the people behind the message. Over the last three years our largest expenditures have been for Social Media conference attendees travel and accommodations.  So the question remains where is the ROI?  HR not PR is where most of my expertise lies, so I am not well suited to eloquently speak to this issue.  So, I looked around to see what I could find on - you guessed it - Social Media.

One piece I found is called 10 Reasons to Invest in Your Brands Social Media Presence. Blogger Kalli Meisler makes some very good points with cited sources. Kalli makes some good points, but my biggest take away from her piece is this.  An organization can ill afford NOT to have a social media presence.  If you don't you will be overtaken by competitors.

At the National level SHRM has embraced Social Media. SHRM has spent a lot of time and effort on this years Presidential election coverage, and attempted to leverage this coverage via Social Media (Twitter and Facebook to be specific). Therefore Illinois SHRM, as a part of the larger organization is simply following the lead of our parent organization. Additionally,  I can also proudly state that we are doing a very good job of it here in Illinois.  In a recent conference call with out SHRM Regional Representative Martha Ramirez, recognized the Illinois SHRM State Council for our efforts and doing an outstanding job with social media.  To that I must say this has been a collective effort of a core group of about 2 dozen social media users.  I am not going to list them, as  I might leave some folks out -but you know who you are.

So is the investment in social media worthwhile, I would respond with an unequivocal ABSOLUTELY. Is it absolutely demonstrable?  No not always, but let's liken social media to safety. Just because we can't measure the cost of NOT having accidents at work, we don't throw it out the window. We support and spend money on safety and know that it is a good thing.  It's just going to take a little longer for some folks to get up to speed on social media.

-Dave Ryan Director of Social Media ISC SHRM