#CmgrChat 1/26/11 – Community Management’s Return on Investment

We had a really active discussion in #CmgrChat this week about that hot button issue – Return on Investment.  How do companies justify the community manager salary?  What value are CMs bringing to the table?  How can you get more CMs at your company?  Is it just a buzzword?

There was a slight issue with as well, so this is the only place you’ll be able to find the summary.  However, if you would like the actual transcript emailed to you,  get in touch with Jenn and she can make that happen.


Q1) How much is your org/co focused on ROI from your work? How do you think that might change going forward?

Bsimi Tough question because first you have to define ‘ROI’ is it $, Community, Awareness… ROI has to, in some form be a goal.

artscmgr As a non-profit our goals are to connect, create local industry visiblity & promote the work of our members. Our ROI isnt $ based

mhandy1: ROI should always be a factor, but the return could be customer satisfaction, frequency among other things

evanhamilton Customer satisfaction is a return on investment – happy customers spend more

evanhamilton: Signups. $. There are just various ways we get to those: share of voice, engagement, evangelism

gilmoreglobal We have 2 objectives; visibility/engagement & sales. Right now we are focusing on visibility but sales will become important.

tgrevatt Also hard to attach $ value to but community is super for product feedback/dev ideas.

MassMarotta It would be nice to tie it to a dollar amount…more about exposing customer successes and increasing customer sat/loyalty

katieblaine Now we are focusing on the feed back and interaction w/ our followers more than ROI. figuring out how to best ingage them

blaisegv Having said that, I an think of plenty of ways a community can SAVE money, which is an often overlooked ROI 🙂

gilmoreglobal To calculate ROI we would need to know the cost (time, resources) and value (sales potential, retention)

StarAasved Best ROI from my perspective – interactive community members.


Q2) What metrics are you using to measure ROI? Do you find they are an accurate measurement?

Bsimi It gets tricky depending on business, me, in hotels and F&B, we can track promo codes, events…

Bsimi Rooms booked with promo codes, foursquare check-ins then figure what our avg. guest spends, Event booking, web mentions

tmonhollon We do monthly tracking reports on lots of areas. Community & social engagement, traffic, SERPs, reputation, Klout scoresetc.

evanhamilton Share of Voice – inaccurate but key. Conversion rate from blog visitors to signups – very accurate. # of evangelists – hard.

gilmoreglobal Measures: Leads, sales, followers, lists, Klout, Tweetlevel, Twitter grader, Likes (fb), Linkedin Followers, Aboutme clicks… (cont) Google impressions, actions, Flickr views, comments, Quora followers.. Im happy right now as long as they are going up!

blaisegv If a social media platform, I’d look at attrition and reach, as well as conversions. If internal community, depends on purpose.

susieques Even nonprofits have goals (sometimes hidden) to see $ from sm. The measure for us is engaging membership=renew + attend mtgs


Q3: Is ROI expected long or short term at your co? How do you report your findings?

40deuce ROI should be expected in long term and short term goals (although long term are easier to prove

Bsimi A lot of short term benchmarks all leading to long term goals. Digital media is not going away. Long term relationships WIN

tmonhollon Both. We look at how tactics affect in micro, and watch bigger trends to see cumulative affects over time.

aleveland Weekly share-out meeting to share findings from topics discussed that week. For MKTG, R&D, Insights attendees

Bsimi Thats why its a long term people biz, This IS NOT an instant gratification strategy.


Q4) What results of a positive ROI would you like to see? More resources dedicated to CM? Pay Raise?

StarAasved Job security is number one for me!

mhandy1 Pay for CMGR’s needs to increase also general team size. A CSO should become standard with multi-dept integration

evanhamilton More resources, less scrambling for me. Raises are nice, but job security and a sense of accomplishment are nicer

evanhamilton And the opportunity to try new things, instead of continuing to tweak the old ones.

JamesVKautz I would like to see SM removed from the corporate test tube and become a part of ‘normal’ biz for *.* in co.

tmonhollon Better organizational integration is one. Resources is another. And the freedom/trust to innovate as you go!


Thanks to all who participated! If you would like to see the entire transcript, please contact Jenn to have it emailed to you.Make sure to come back to #cmgrchat every Wednesday from 2-3pm EST for more chats!

If you have any ideas or suggestions for future topics, leave comments or get in touch with either Jenn or Kelly!

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About the author

Jenn Pedde

Jenn is a Co-Founder of The Community Manager and the Editor-In-Chief. She’s also an adjunct professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. You can find her almost anywhere online, but specifically on #CmgrChat every Wednesday from 2-3pm ET.