I love this brilliant video from Bob Garfield, co-host of On the Media
and author of The Chaos Scenario. Okay, I'd admit it, Bob is one of my favorite people on the planet. I was lucky enough to spend a delightful hour or so signing books with him at PRSA International in San Diego and have followed his wit and wisdom religiously ever since. But this particular video isn't just a brilliant characterization of the reality of the social media scene but also provides an excellent litmus test for social media measurement.
Every day there's a new kerfuffle going on somewhere on some blog about whether you can or can't measure social media; whether there is or is not an ROI impact, whether impressions matter etc etc. The most recent has been taking place over at my friend Shel Holtz's blog about Groupon.
The reality is there are two types of people: the people like "rainbow birthmark" in the video that see the world today as filled with wonderful new tools to scream louder and in a different way to the world at large. They aren't interested in a two-way dialog, could care less about listening and think that "buildng brand engagement" means getting more followers on Twitter. They call me up on a daily basis and ask me for "the social media equivalent of AVE" or "the value of a Facebook friend" or worse still "how many guaranteed impressions will I get from doing this iPhone app? "
I want to scream at them, "DON"T YOU GET IT? We don't want to be your friend, you deaf rainbow-birthmarked moron. "
Then there are the few, the humble, the listeners. The folks at Dell are the poster children of this group. They listen like crazy, and see more value in listening than screaming. They measure success in happy, repeat customers and the added value that brand loyalty brings to the company. Home Depot, Comcast and Southwest fall into this category as well.
This group measures results by the impact on the business, the shortened sales cycle, more qualified leads, improved business processes, more loyalty. With them I have long conversations about measurable goals and actionable metrics.
So if you are still reading this, it's time for your quiz:
Are you the listening type that measures business value of listening to your stakeholders? Then call me, I'd love to debate the issues, review your metrics and share my thoughts.
Or are you the rainbow birthmark type that care more about hits (how idiots track success), eyeballs, and faux followers and just want people to "be your friend" and "watch you dance."
To quote the advice my cousin the middle school teacher gives his about to be naughty pupils: Make good choices.