Return on investment (ROI) has long been the industry standard to which businesses measure the efficiency of an investment. The versatility and simplicity of this metric is the reason why ROI is so widely used, but also widely regarded as a double-edged sword, especially while marketing through blogs.
What is the “return” that social marketers actually see after investing their time and effort on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs? The return is not as easily quantifiable as “Likes”, “Friends”, or correlating the amount of “Likes” to individual sales. Rather, the return is the community involvement a company receives when engaging in various developer forums and blogs - We see more value in leveraging developer blogs in marketing efforts than social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
For interactive design and user experience agencies like us, it is important to stay involved with social communities like MSDN, Silverlight, and TechNet forums. IdentityMine’s resident Microsoft MVP, Laurent Bugnion, has a blog that touches on developer related content such as; Silverlight, MVVM, User Experience, and preparation for speaking at conferences. Dedicating time to produce valuable content to your core community is the key driver to your return on involvement. We can gain valuable information about how to improve our latest application or gauge interest on current trends - new business opportunities are always welcome.
We found that involving ourselves in online developer communities provides us with broader visibility to prospective clients. Laurent Bugnion purports, “There should be no real goal to become an MVP; the purpose is to provide useful/helpful content and become a trusted name in the developer community.” Online engagement should be less tactical and more part of an ongoing strategy to become more visible. While it may not be easy to quantify the correlation between blog posts and the amount of incoming business opportunities, there is a definite benefit.
Have you found ways to quantify your return on involvement?
Has your involvement in online communities led to new business opportunities?
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