Consider how you use social in your personal life. It may not be immediately obvious but ultimately your social choices are emotionally driven. Now, think about how you leverage social for business. Are you all about the analytics? Are you fixated on the traditional notion of those three little letters that have come to dominate the social measurement conversation – ROI? I’m asking you, begging you, pleading with you to get over it.
Now before you get crazy, I’m not trying to dismiss the importance of metrics. They have significance because they give marketers a window into degrees of consumer interest. And yes, then there’s engagement. We all know about engagement. But what metrics can’t accurately quantify is impact; metrics lack emotion. This is interesting because it is emotion that drives social habits. What do I mean by that?
I want you to think about your fondest memory. Maybe you were five years old. Perhaps you got the train set you always wanted for your birthday – always being pretty relative for someone presumably just entering kindergarten. Maybe you were sixty. Perhaps you learned that you were going to be a grandparent. Whatever it was that made that moment so impactful, would you ever think to put a price tag on it; the impact it had on your life; its lasting generational importance? Of course not. Yet the return on impact for brands in each example is fairly predictable without being terribly overt.
As a five year old, you likely told all of your friends about the toy train. Your friends told their parents. Their parents told marketers via store visits, thus, raising the demand of the product. As a sixty year old, it probably didn’t take you long before you bragged to anyone that would listen about your coming bundle of grandjoy and started thinking of ways to spoil it – toys, dolls, games, clothes, even college funds. Emotion drives impact. For brands and marketers, impact should be your primary metric.
Social media is all about emotion. Why do you choose to follow certain people, TV shows, celebrities, or brands? Do they make you laugh, cry, or scratch your head? Do you relate to them? These questions should not be limited to measuring personal use. Social business is personal. For marketers and brands, the time has come to reevaluate traditional return on investment and re-frame it. It’s time to prioritize impact.