According to Standard Metrics, Social Media Just Isn’t Worth It.

Metrics are the life blood of PR. Metrics tell us how many people we are reaching and for how long we are reaching them. We then take that metric and divide it by how long it took us to get those views and you have a really basic ROI scale used by most PR firms.

Sure I am simplifying this but I am doing it to help you illustrate the way PR people think. I have said it before but this is why many people in PR don’t like social media. The definable metric of social media is typically low. The amount of people you reach versus the amount of time you have to put into social media makes it an unattractive endeavor.

Sure, every now and you strike oil and something you have worked on goes ‘viral’ and tens of thousands of people see it. On average you exposure in social media is low. That is the TYPICAL view but if you look at social media from another angle social media can be cost effective.

Living in DC everyone wants to get into the Washington Post. The Post has an amazing reach and finds its way into the homes of people all around the country. Is that good? Sure every client I have ever had wanted to get in the Post but it wasn’t always in their best interest.

So what if the Post reaches half a million people a day, are they the right people? This is where social media can really shine even with a smaller metric. I often use the fictional magazine called “Oil Changers Weekly” as an example of what it means to reach the right people versus reaching the most people.

If you owned a company that invented a tool that makes changing oil 10 times faster, getting into the Post wouldn’t really help your business that much. Sure a ton of people would know about your tool, but would any of them request it at their next oil change?

Now imagine you got into “Oil Changers Weekly”, sure it might have 1 percent of the readership that the Post has but it is the RIGHT 1 percent. You are reaching people who have a direct impact on your business and your message. This is the value in social media.

Sure according to the metrics vs. time social media seems like a waste of time; but is it really? I have found the connections and messaging I am able to gain with social media has a much greater return for clients and the public. That is the value social media can offer a potential client, reaching the right people vs. reaching the most people.

I have spent a great deal of time trying to sell social media to people who might not be interested in using it as PR tool. I have found the “Oil Changers Weekly” to be a good argument and really hits home with most business. Do you have any tools you use to sway your clients into adopting social media tools? I would love to hear them if you want to share them with the public.

What other tools have you found effective for really evaluating the value of social media? What have you found is the best way to show your clients you are doing good work for them?