What is the capital of Tajikistan?
Is there life on Mars?
Who will win the 2013 World Series?
All knowledge falls into one of three categories: the known, the knowable, and the unknown.
- Known: The capital of Tajikistan is Dushanbe.
- Knowable: NASA's Curiosity rover is currently running tests on Mars to determine if life exists.
- Unknown: While current odds favor the Angels, Tigers, and Dodgers, no one knows who will ultimately win baseball's Fall Classic.
Now, think about measuring business results in social media.
Getting to the knowable in social business
On one hand, this is an easy task. You can purchase Twitter ads or Facebook ads and gain access to analytics dashboards that will show how your investments are performing. In a focused, closed-loop situation, measurement is easy. Results are known.
On the other hand, this is a very difficult task. "What's the ROI of social?" can generate retorts like "what's the ROI of putting your pants on?" In an unfocused, overly broad situation, useful measurement is impossible. Results are unknown.
Somewhere in between is the knowable. By starting with business activities, brands can focus on what needs to be measured and why. Good places to start include advertising campaigns, customer advocacy, and internal collaboration. Results are knowable - but measurement is easier said than done.
If you can measure it, you can manage it
Determining social business performance requires a deliberate approach. The setup and delivery of campaigns require use of proper tools and process to monitor and measure activity. In today's operating environment, the availability and sophistication of tools are increasing, but there's still plenty of manual labor that goes into filling gaps where existing solutions fall short. Inefficient and incomplete approaches allow only part of the complete picture of business performance in social to be seen, while the rest remains obscured, in the realm of the unknown.
Six months ago, I left Dachis Group and eventually joined R/GA to help the agency build a capability to support the next nine years. Learning from Bob Greenberg and Barry Wacksman was an incomparable experience and I left every meeting inspired and full of ideas.
This week, I rejoined Dachis Group, the company I helped start in 2008. Why? After a cordial meeting with Jeff to catch up during the holidays, I was pleasantly surprised by the progress that had been made during my absence. The tools are the most advanced offerings in market today and continuing to evolve.
I also realized that the challenges that Dachis Group is solving for - how to help marketers make social business work - are the same challenges that have been driving me ever since I joined Forrester Research in 2005. These issues were initially unknown at the advent of corporate social media; identifying the knowable and moving clients into the known is immensely satisfying for me. That's why I've been blogging for over seven years, co-authored a book and speak at conferences worldwide to exchange insights. So I decided to return to the company and help continue to grow what I started.
The truth about how your social performance is out there - the results are knowable, as long as you've got the right solutions to measure and manage your efforts. In my new role - Chief Solutions Architect - I'll be helping Dachis Group work with clients to drive better business results.