Social media use and measurement to date has mostly resided in the experimentation stage. In the last couple of years there has been a rush to experiment and become involved with the exciting new world of digital and social media. Press conferences in Second Life. Posting corporate podcasts on YouTube. Not relying on others to publish your company content – just publish it yourself.
All of this comes with a price tag. So far, the spirit of experimentation has provided a sort of ‘get out of jail free’ card with respect to having to demonstrate the value of digital and social media programs and initiatives. It looks like 2009 will change all that due primarily to three factors:
– the widespread awareness of social media use in a business context
– the economy
– the economy.
2009 will raise the bar on all of use to demonstrate how social media programs are helping to drive desired business outcomes. It won’t be enough to just report on the number of view-thrus for a clip or unique commenters on a blog. We will be challenged to explain how our programs will drive consumer/customer awareness, engagement and purchase intent. How are we contributing to the brand and how does the contribution impact the business. The questions will outnumber our answers, but we all better be ready to come up with better answers than we have in the past. 2009 will be the year when the pendulum swings from experimentation to accountability. Buckle your seat belts.
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