I’ve been following a lot of conversations lately about ways to quantify social media marketing and ways to move the practice up the chain-of-command at an organization. Social Media is a rather complicated little practice that involves sharing a thought, via the written word (or maybe video/audio), over a variety of channels with an endless audience - so it got me wondering, too, how do you figure out the ROI on something so broad and so unpredictable? Since our business lives and thrives on the “voice” of the written word - and the more of it the better - it’s difficult to NOT put a number or figure on the value of what we can extract for your business using our technology. What would be the value for you to know the most frequent themes or concepts associated with your business or product? Or to figure out if you are perceived positively or negatively by the voice of your customers? Maybe putting value on that stuff is the easy part, but how do you know if that is an indication of a good or bad social media plan? Amber at Brass Tack Thinking posted a great blog that I think helps to highlight some of the fear businesses have with jumping into the analysis and evaluation phase of social media. She writes: “I have news for you. We aren’t going to figure all of this out neatly in time to take action without risk of failure. In fact, the time to take action is now. It’s yesterday. If we’re waiting for a tidy definition for ROI before we’re comfortable taking steps in a new direction, the train will have left the proverbial station. Have we always known and carefully calculated the potential success of something - especially in communications - before we do it? Do we ever have the capacity in a business sense to take something on faith, or at the very least on an educated guess? Can barriers be broken if we wait until all the details are neatly in a row? Moreover, ROI is something that you calculate after the investment has been made. It’s looking back at your efforts, and determining what you got out of them. The definition of “got” can be any number of things. Why are we so hell bent on making it fit one specific idea of what works? And can we not be content to do our best to plan ahead, but be bold enough to move forward and DO? Not having all the answers is not an excuse to be inert.” Obviously, we are always happy to discuss how Lexalytics’ solutions can help with that process of “looking back at your efforts” and ask, “What do you think would be the best way to calculate ROI of social media monitoring and analysis??” The more people thinking and talking about it, the better chance we have that we can put some metrics and measurements in place to quantify all that qualitative information.