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March 29, 2017

I discovered my Social Media ROI? Or How much is your personal development worth?

By michaelpace on March 30, 2012

Einstein quote















I am not that big of a fan of the term “Social Business”. I love the broader concept of using social tools and networks to more effectively and efficiently achieve business goals. For a more complete understanding of social business, I recommend two sources: SideraWorks from Amber Naslund and Matt Ridings and The Community Roundtable’s State of Community Management Report from Rachel Happe and Jim Storer. However, I worry that the term “Social Business” leaves the act of working this way to the current few in a company “who do Social Media”. I prefer the term “Social Organization”, as I wrote about a couple months back. The “Social Organization” implies that is more about the people in the organization, all the people, using relationships, process and tools to accomplish broad business goals.

If your company’s broad business goals include the personal development of your associates, becoming a social organization should be one of your key strategic imperatives. One of my favorite quotes is from the book The Power of Pull by John Hagel, he said, “There are a lot more smarter people outside of your company, than in it”. This quote has nothing to do with the intelligence of the people in your company; it’s just that there are so many subject matter experts, students, and geniuses in any field you can imagine. Social networks are fantastic way to listen, connect and build relationships with the smartest people in the world. Encouraging your associates to seek knowledge about their passions (both professional and non) and use social tools to aide in their personal development can be a powerful way for them to improve. If you don’t mind, I will use myself as a case study in this matter.

When I started becoming interested in social media in 2009, I had a Facebook account to keep track of folks from high school (mostly who I didn’t like back then either) and a LinkedIn account (mostly to help in a job search I had just completed). My professional development, at that time, centered around three areas: Understanding Social Media for Customer Service, Community Management, and public speaking. Historically, I read a lot of books to gain access to information of bright minds. I still do, but as a compliment to other forms of media. I quickly began to understand the power of an RSS feeder. Twitter was next. I fell in love with Twitter, and still love it today as a professional development tool. Twitter, if used for no other purpose, is an amazing way to pull the world’s smartest people content into a simple and digestible form. Over time, I began to build amazing relationships, some digital and some in person, and conversations from these relationships have added incredibly towards my personal development along all three areas. Today, I speak regularly at Customer Service, Social Media and Community Management conferences about how to build scalable social media customer service teams, revitalizing fading communities, inspiring cultural evolutions in your organization, new ways to measure customer retention, and how to leverage the power of the social organization. You can see some of the presentations here.

So what is the ROI of social media to me or what is the value of my personal development?

The answer is simple, priceless.

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  1. 3 Comments

    Social media has built its own importance for increasing the business as well.

  2. 3 Comments

    Great post Mike (as always)! Finding the right word to describe the future is difficult because the words bring baggage with them. I like Social Organization because we know that organizations that leverage the voice of their employees as well as those outside the organization have a competitive advantage over businesses that stifle conversation.

    As far as terminology, I like Social Business, because for me, it emphasizes _business_. “Social Media” is crappy because the “media” part traditionally and inherently means PUSH. Sometimes I just use “social” to refer to conducting business over social networking services because “social” feels right. Social is having manners. It’s writing a thank-you letter. It’s calling your Dad on his birthday (btw, Happy 72nd Dad!). My Dad’s on Facebook, but sending him a Happy Birthday message on Facebook is about the least social thing I could do.


      Thanks John. Our own terminology is getting in the way, there is still a considerable amount of fear in term social . Also working in a social manner is pretty intimidating to many traditional leaders. I definitely do use the combination of all the terms mentioned. My hope, more than anything, is to break down “the wall” of a single, usually small team of social marketers being the “social” of an organization.

  3. 3 Comments

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