West17Media will be hosting a conference on Social media for Marketers, Senior management and Executives called "Social Media Innovation Summit: "Listen, Strategize, Engage". The event will be a one day event on November 12th 2009 at the Ramada, Calgary. Details are available on the event website, their Social Media Community on Facebook, or you can buy tickets directly (use the promo code: TechVibes until the 19th to get an additional $25 off the early price).
West17Media is a Social Media Consultancy that focuses on measurement and accountable marketing methodologies. They offer a balance of services and training for clients. The company was founded by Roger Kondrat, who has over 10 years of online Marketing experience. He's passionate about analyzing and interpreting data to make strategic social media plans for organizations.
Here's what Roger had to say about a couple of questions I asked him:
1. Companies looking to get into social media often ask what the ROI is, how do you answer this?
First, let me say ROI is Return on Investment, that means dollars in and dollars out When some Social Media 'professionals' refer to ROI what they are really referring to is Impact. Impact is 'non-financial' measurement e.g. dollars in and Facebook Followers grow or Twitter Followers grow.
What is also important is that the clients goals are measurable via ROI. For example, "we want to build brand awareness" isn't measurable in via ROI, but "we want to sell more bikes through this widget" is measurable via ROI. Additionally, if companies are looking seriously at measurement in their marketing (any marketing) they need to start developing marketing objectives for their department or organization which will then determine how success is measured. Then an assessment of existing business intelligence systems must be conducted to ensure the data being collected is supportive and informative of the identified objectives.
2. How do companies manage their social reputation? Do you think it is directly related to their real life reputation, or can companies easily create a bad online reputation?
The simple answer is that companies need to participate in social media. This can be an active role or a passive/defensive role to protect their brand(s). Create profiles on all the social networks you can, this will ensure that their are not being used or taken by competitors - the last thing you want is to have someone poaching your brand on Twitter, Facebook or the next 'big thing'. Namechk.com is a useful site that will help you find out which social networks your name has been taken already and where it is still available.
As recently as two years ago someone could have said there was a significant disconnect between online reputation and offline because people were sharing less, connecting less. Today, I don't think it is possible to separate offline from online reputation. Whatever is said online spreads further and faster...and will make its way offline to traditional media or into community Word-of-Mouth.
3. How do you see social media users honing in on who to trust in the future?
Ultimately people don't like unethical practices. With the number of alternatives for their news/information/entertainment these days, when they no longer trust a source, they will go somewhere else. If you want to keep your audience, you'll have to be transparent and honest.