The Key to Social Media ROI

This post originally appeared on the Avectra blog.
We believe that Social CRM is the key to getting ROI out of social media activity. It’s that simple… and that complicated.

So what is social CRM, you ask?  Here’s our simplified definition:

Social CRM is the discipline of applying social media to membership management.
scrm definition

Discipline means you’re doing social media work strategically, with organizational goals in mind.

Social media is more than just Facebook and Twitter. In this definition, when we use the term social media, we’re talking about:

1.) Social data–data we collect about members lives, their interactions, and their connections on our own website, as well as public social data that’s available from platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google, to name a few.

2.) Social concepts–advanced thinking around ideas like online influence and online engagement that can be applied to our member data to impact online behavior.

Membership management is also more than it seems. In this definition, when we use the term membership management, we’re talking about:

1.) managing association members–both long-time, and first-year members who are most at risk of dropping their membership.

2.) maintaining contact with community members–former members, prospective members, students, and other stakeholders who care about the work of the organization.

And ROI, of course, is about money, pure and simple.  Either saving money or making money.


Can you save money by spending less on some things where you get more return from social media activity?  Can you save money by reducing man hours spent in traditional ways, by using social media to collaborate online instead?  Can you make more money by selling more memberships, registrations, webinars, publications, etc.?

The way that we suggest you will figure that out is by aligning your membership management goals and activities with your social media work and social data gathering.

Join me, Maddie Grant (SocialFish), Sterling Raphael (Avectra) and Tom Myroniak from the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) at #ASAE11 in St Louis on Social CRM for Associations: Future Trends for Managing Member Data, (Monday August 8 at 3:15 pm) to hear how one association is thinking through these ideas.

Social CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a hot, trendy topic among business web analysts, and it can result in more valuable and profitable relationships with current and future members? Learn five key technologies that impact an association’s Social CRM. Dig deep to dispel any myths, and walk away with three steps to immediately make your organization’s membership relationship management more social.

See you there!


Tinu Abayomi-Paul August 2, 2011 at 8:55 pm

This sounds like a must-attend event. All data is useless until it is organized and/or analyzed into information. Social CRM is the organizational part of the equation, and is key to analyzing how to improve a plan of action.

It’s of great service to the member too – I don’t sign up with an organization like Modest Needs so I can forget to renew my donation each year. But if no one follows up, that’s exactly what happens. People WANT to give, and to support the associations they belong to – we think they’re important, that’s why we joined. Anything that helps to not just maintain, but preserve that relationship is a huge plus.

Matt Hixson August 3, 2011 at 12:42 am

I wish I could be there. The Cost/Benefit conversation is one that I have daily right now. It seems that the state of social media is that most people are doing lots of things, hoping that they stick. As the industry matures we will start gathering data that really matters so that we can spend our time very strategically to reduce waste and get the best possible return. Hopefully, we continue to get smarter and the tools continue to get better so that we spend our time on things we have data to support them as opposed to hoping.

I’m sure the event will be a great success. Have a great time.

Terry Coatta August 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm

There’s another angle on the social CRM approach that can contribute to ROI significantly, albeit indirectly. As you note, a good social media platform is tracking interactions and relationships, and the association can certainly mine this data to improve their understanding of and engagement with members. But this data can also be very useful for the members themselves.

I work for a company that produces a social media product specifically for associations and one of our more popular features is the “relationship browser”. Basically, this is a tool that takes all of those interactions and relationships and displays them in an intuitive visual form (a graph). Users can then navigate through this information by just clicking on items. The feature is popular because it provides a fairly quick way to explore not only who belongs to the association, but also let’s you gain an understanding of their interests and concerns based on their interactions with content and relationships with other users.

So, that Social CRM data can also be a mechanism to help strengthen the community and promote interaction.

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