One area where businesses struggle with social media is the attempt to quantify direct monetary results… Everyone wants to know, “What’s the Return On Investment (ROI)?”

Yesterday, we talked about social media lessons that small-to-medium businesses can learn from the big boys. (Actually, it was big dogs. But you get the point.)

So what can those big dogs teach you about using financial metrics to determine the ROI of your own social media program?


Or rather, don’t make financial metrics your top focus.

eMarketer reports on a new study from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the American Marketing Association. They found “customer-relationship-based activities” are becoming a more popular measurement, and financial metrics, less important.

The number of respondents tracking friends and followers rose (by 7%) to just over 34%, and the number tracking “buzz indicators” or web mentions rose (by 4.8%) to 20.5%.

At the same time, the number using sales levels as a metric fell (by 4.6%) to 13.3%, and revenue per customer was used by 9.6% (down 7.6%).

…if companies can show how socially engaged consumers become loyal, repeat customers who share information about the brand via word-of-mouth, these softer metrics may become even more important.

We’ve only recently pointed out that many of your customers are under the influence… of social media and each other. In that light, the new measurements of social media success show a clear picture of real results.