Ask a client about the goals of a social media campaign and the answer is almost always this: “We need to be there because everyone else is. Get me a following.” How can you measure social media ROI? Without a strategic plan in place to connect the dots, there’s no point having fans, friends or followers. You need to think it through.

Before you even think about tweeting, take a look at the latest winners of the top campaigns in the world. The round-up of creative class celebrities at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival reveals that social media, earned media, free media, and paid media all have a place and often work well together.

Here’s an abbreviated round-up of the festival from Brandweek’s Noreen O’Leary:


Gatorade’s “Replay” campaign reunited 30-somethings from their rival high-school football teams to relive the tie game. The game was played in front of 15,000 fans after tickets sold out in 90 minutes. It was made into a five-part online documentary. Though Gatorade sales fell 8.5 percent in the 52 weeks that ended Jan. 24, regional sales increased 63 percent. The event was named one of CNN’s top stories of 2009 and picked up as a TV series by Fox Sports Net, with the first season airing nationally to 90 million households.


Nike’s Chalkbot campaign at 2009’s Tour de France, which featured a machine that left chalk-written messages on the course about the Livestrong Foundation, coincided with a 46 percent jump in sales for Nike’s Livestrong Collection, generating $4 million for Lance Armstrong’s fight against cancer. The success could also be attributed to Armstrong’s return to the Tour.

Best Buy

Best Buy’s launch last July of Twelpforce used Twitter to connect and handle customer service questions. A year later, Twelpforce counts 27,000 followers and has generated 30,000 tweets. TV spots may also have helped back-to-school business, with laptop sales exceeding the retailer’s goals by 40 percent. Some 2,700 employees also signed up to participate—making Best Buy employees more socially savvy.


Volkswagen Sweden’s “The Fun Theory” turned a stairwell in a subway into a keyboard to encourage people to take the stairs and has logged 19 million views on You Tube since its October release. The pitch also posted strong sales: VW’s overall share of that market more than tripled to 13 percent in the first six months of this year, as sales rose 58 percent.

The ROI is there for those who think (and plan) strategically.

But Daniel Ziv, vice president of customer interaction analytics at Verint Witness Actionable Solutions, revises the traditional ROI into a more updated model: Return On Interaction.

Visibility to other customers is a measure—as is reaching out to other influencers.

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