One of the biggest challenges faced by a library trying to evaluate the impact of its social networking strategy is in understanding how that impact should be quantified. Even for-profit organizations struggle with this, as social media use often has intangible benefits to brand or reputation which might not immediately translate to increased profits but which are undoubtedly valuable for the organization’s long-term health. See this quick primer on return on investment (ROI) in a for-profit setting for an explanation of why these companies are looking beyond sales goals and “clicks” to determine ROI:
The video hits on a key point about ROI and social media, which is that because every business has different objectives, they will each measure ROI differently. So where does this leave libraries and other non-profit institutions, which have no true “bottom line” to speak of? How can libraries determine the value of social media to their organizational goals? Check out my next two posts for some of the answers.