The Basics of Social Media ROI

Here’s a simple but effective presentation on measuring the impact—the return on investment or ROI—of your social media campaign. Hint: if you can’t measure the real-world impact to things that actually matter, you’re doing it wrong. Thanks to the Social Media Club of Phoenix for the link.

Hell yeah, #nvfn rocks!

Jessica rocking out at #nvfn

Last month, Jess Egli-Cannon and I organized our first #nvfn North Valley Friday Night. We started at Joe’s Grotto, then briefly moved to the Dubliner before settling in at Uncle Sam’s.

It was an absolute blast. An unforgettable blast, as a matter of fact.

What the hell is #nvfn anyway?

In short, #nvfn is a monthly opportunity to get together for a night of fun in the north Phoenix area. It’s one of several regularly-scheduled regional #pfn events. On the third Friday night of each month, we get together and hang out—and hilarity and a good time ensues.

A lesson in taking the initiative

Jess and I had met about a month before the event at the post-event dinner of Social Media Club Phoenix. We sat across the table from each other and chatted, and at some point the conversation turned to #pfn events and how the original organizer of #nvfn had to give it up. We decided right there that we should take the lead in re-establishing the event. A few days later, I checked in with Jess and we started the planning.

It’s amazing how easy it was to get this idea rolling. It took a random suggestion after a few minutes of conversation with a stranger: “Hey, maybe we should organize an #nvfn,” and a follow up message “Hey, so do you still want to organize that #nvfn thing?” to get started.

That’s it.

Over the last six months or so, I’ve gotten pretty active on twitter. I’ve consciously and successfully pushed myself to throw caution to the wind, step out from my introverted nature, and get involved with new people.

And I’ve learned—very clearly—that it’s incredibly easy to get value of out of taking that initiative. It’s a great life lesson to learn. The marketers at Nike have it right: Just Do It.

Seriously: Just. Do. It.

Tomorrow night we’ll be at Rock Bottom at Desert Ridge

The March 19 #nvfn will be starting at 7pm on the patio at Rock Bottom at Desert Ridge. We’ll undoubtedly retire to at least one other venue over the course of the night, so please check the twitter stream for details. I’d love for you to come and join in the fun. If you want to stay informed of future events, hit up the #nvfn facebook page or the #pfn announcement page.

What this photo from 1989 says about loyalty

Growing up in Mesa, Arizona

I value loyalty.

I hadn’t ever thought of myself as being an especially loyal guy until a friend raised it as one of my personal qualities a couple of years ago. I reflexively disagreed, but upon further reflection and discussion realized that it was probably an accurate statement. Hey, sometimes it takes you a few decades to learn about yourself.

I posted the picture above, which was taken in mid-September 1989, to illustrate this point. I was looking at a few of my old pictures for today’s Facebook meme and ran across this one. Besides the smile, I loved some of the insights the photo provides into who I am (more on that below).

But first: loyalty.

Despite the prominence of the tape player, the first thing I noticed about this photo was the ASU poster in the background. The second thing I noticed was my head-to-foot 49ers outfit. Recent events reminded me of my loyalty to both of these teams.

Earlier today on a work conference call, we scheduled our big annual event for a November weekend on which there’s a home ASU football game. It’s the second time in as many years. It will be only the third time I’ve missed a regularly-scheduled home game since becoming a fan in 1987. I’m already feeling bad about missing the game, even though I don’t have high hopes for next season. There have been far too many of those seasons, but alas, I continue to buy season tickets and root on the team. I’ve never willingly left the stadium before the bitter end, no matter the score or weather. If you know me, you know me as a loyal ASU fan.

The same concept, albeit to a lesser extent given the circumstances, applies to the 49ers. To be sure, the Niners had a grand glorious run – one for both the record and history books. But those times vanished when Eddie D gave up the team, and the team has had precious little success since then. Still, I’ve never wavered, even as it became fashionable for root for the Cardinals. In fact, everyone expects me to root for the Cards—I’m a native after all—and are usually shocked and a bit miffed that I’d rather the Cardinals lose every game they played. (For what it’s worth, they should have lost the last one.) Part of that is residual anger over their lawsuit against ASU, disrespect for the Bidwell family, and the fact they got a new stadium deal they didn’t in any possible way deserve. But much of it also boils down to the fact that the Cards and Niners are both in the NFC West. What can I say – I’m a loyal 49ers fan.

Of course, loyalty to a particular football team is hardly a personal characteristic you’d want engraved on your tombstone. There are far more important ways to be loyal, people to be loyal with, and values to be loyal to. But nonetheless, I think it’s a clear indicator of a larger and more meaningful pattern.

Speaking of indicators, let’s get back to the photo. Some other quick observations about what this picture might say about me, even at the ripe age of 10:

  • Tape cassettes weren’t cutting-edge, but I clearly enjoyed technology.
  • I was anal enough even back then to keep a running score tally on the ASU poster. Luckily, I wouldn’t get any database software for another couple of years.
  • Office supplies were in my future – notice the legal pad and pad holder. I’m such a geek.
  • I’m still refusing to acknowledge the GI Joe sheets.
  • I was nostalgic and sentimental even back then – notice the ticket pinned up next to the poster and the pom pom on the left side of the window sill. Those were less signs of fandom and had much more to do with saving memories.
  • Friendship bracelet FTW!

On hiding in Facebook

It’s truly amazing how many people spend hours each day playing games on Facebook. I have to say, I’ve never seen the attraction of them, though they’re clearly compelling to at least half of my fb friends. But then again, I don’t understand why people watch those stupid reality game shows either. To each their own I suppose.

As seen on a friend's facebook profile recently

Of course, Facebook loses much of its value and utility if your news feed consists mostly of updates for games you don’t play or applications you don’t use. Luckily for my sanity – and maybe yours – there’s a great remedy for this: the “hide this application” option. I’m pretty sure that this has been Facebook best innovation this year. No longer will I have to wade through update after update of irrelevant nonsense to find the interesting article someone’s posted or see photos from their latest vacation. Sure, there’s still plenty of crap on Facebook, but at least you can better manage that crap these days.

And to my friends and family who play these games, please don’t take this post personally. I’m glad that you enjoy the games and surveys and other things. Really. It just makes no sense for me to follow that stuff if I’m not playing and the constant updates crowd out the stuff you post that I do genuinely want to see.

Online to offline relationships: My 10 in 3 challenge

I’m creating a personal goal of proactively reaching out to 10 people I know only online and establishing an offline relationship with them in the next 3 months. I’m going to call it my #10N3 challenge.

A little bit of background

I’ve been hovering around the edges of a few social media communities for awhile now. Over the last few months, I’ve been following and occasionally interacting with the Phoenix twitter crowd. The absence of a sense of community has always been one of my disappointments with the Phoenix metro area, so I was amazed and impressed with the community-building events they’ve been hosting.

I decided that I should get more involved.

So when Twitter launched its lists feature, I thought it was a great way to chart out progress in turning those “I follow online” relationships into “we’ve actually met” ones. The result were two incomplete lists of Phoenix-area folks that I hadn’t met yet and ones I had.

To that end, I’ve stopped by an occasional tweetup or #pfn or #smunch. I’ve been truly amazed with some of the cool people I’ve briefly met already – and I know I’m only scratching the surface. So I’m not only interested in expanding that list, but deepening it as well.

This is an attempt to do just that. At its core, this challenge is about creating even more value from the investment I make every time I tweet, post a photo online, or add a reply to a forum post.

My #10N3 Challenge

So, here it is: I am challenging myself to convert 10 of my online-only relationships into offline “in-real-life” relationships in the next 3 months.

Because of the holidays and my own travel schedule, I’m not starting the clock until the New Year arrives. This is about adding value to my social media experience, so I’m planning on reporting back my progress on the days I get paid.

The rules

  • Must be one-on-one conversations to count. It doesn’t count if we just talk in a crowd of people (unless the conversation is direct, personal, extended, etc). It’s best if these are organized with the specific purpose of meeting to chat, like inviting someone out for coffee or a hike.
  • Half of them must be people I’ve never met in person, however briefly. The rest can be people with whom I’ve shaken hands or exchanged pleasantries, but didn’t get into a real conversation with.
  • They can be from any social media platform (twitter, facebook, flickr, sports forums, etc), but they have to be people with whom I’ve already establish some sort of online relationship (friends on facebook, I follow them on twitter, foursquare fan, subscribe to their blog, etc). On platforms where reciprocation is not required (eg twitter), it’s enough that I follow them. It doesn’t count if I meet them at an event and then follow them on twitter or subscribe to their blog.
  • We don’t have to become best buds in real life as a result of meeting in person. That’s not what this is about.
  • While I have my own short list of people I’d like to meet during this challenge, I’m not publishing it or holding myself accountable to it.

Of course, this is my challenge and therefore my rules, so I may end up amending them as circumstances warrant. However, I see this as a real personal challenge and am treating it as such.

I’m going to be using the hastag #10N3 on twitter if you’d like to follow my progress or adopt your own challenge. If you decide to join along with me in this goal, please let me know and I’ll post a link.