David Armano has an article on BusinessWeek called "The New Focus Group: The Collective" where he urges companies using social media to make the last word in ROI insight, not investment. The process is: Listen, Learn, Adapt. He is describing what an organization with a "learning organization" culture does and applying it to social media. He makes the analogy that the process of mining the data for insights is akin to anthropology and that the team should be "digital anthropologists."
When I've been talking about ROI and Social Media - I make the point that the most important part of the process is looking at the data to figure out how to improve. I used the Einstein quote, "Not everything that can be counted counts, and what counts can not be counted." My point was that the qualitative insights are just as important to hard data points.
But I love the phrase, "Return on Insight."
It might be difficult for the nonprofits to drop the word investment and replace it with insight - only from the point of the view that the word "investment" translates in donations and funding. And usually have to submit reports that demonstrate "impact." Nonprofits need to learn the insights and also understand the value of the investment. .
Nonetheless, the reflection questions are very valuable and important to incorporate in your strategy planning and reflection process.
1. Are you actively listening to your customers in the places they frequent online?
2. Are you launching initiatives that can be easily updated? Are you enabling a "culture of rapid response?"
3. Are you evaluating current processes and updating them as needed?
4. Are you building a culture in which "failure" is acceptable?
5. Are you allowing your teams to create "pilots" prior to scrutinizing them through traditional ROI exercises?
6. Are you planning initiatives that will help your organization learn prior to backing major marketing campaigns?
7. Are you synthesizing qualitative insights in addition to analyzing hard data points?
8. Are you tweaking your strategy along the way—and adapting where change may be needed?
9. Are you empowering all members of your teams to think and act like "digital anthropologists?"
10. Are you evolving the tools and methods to measure success (i.e. going beyond clicks and impressions)?
David Armano, The Collective Focus Group Paper
Beth Kanter, How To Think Like A Social Media Marketing Genius
Beth Kanter, What Are the Best Metrics and Reflection Processes To Improve Your Blog
Beth Kanter, Social Media Listening Wiki
Maddy Grant and Lindy Dreyer, Got Your Listening Ears On?
Chris Brogan, Listening to Blogs, Really Listening