What’s A Friend Worth?

Ask yourself this about your best friend:  what is he or she worth to you?  I know –  silly question.  After all, our friends don’t really have monetary value.  What they provide is measured in emotional support, perhaps a more varied perspective on the world around you, and maybe a great system of checks and balances with your own perception of you and the worlds around you.

I got to thinking about the fallacy of measuring a friend’s worth as I read an article last week on a marketing study.  In my mind, social media in many forms isn’t about the traditional measures of ROI.  After all, if the point is to engage people in conversations, much as with one’s own friends, the ROI isn’t really quantifiable in traditional terms.  But let’s see what you think.

Here’s the deal (as reported by eMarketer):

In July 2011, Microsoft Advertising and Advertiser Perceptions surveyed social media marketers … and found that 74% of them thought it was very important to have a presence on Facebook, but only 57% felt the same way about advertising there. On Twitter,  47% of respondents saying they thought it was very important (to be there) but in Twitter’s case, there was not as much of a difference between presence and advertising, at 42%.

That’s actually smart, in my mind – if you’re engaging well, advertising in the same environment is kind of unseemly.  However, the survey also reported…

Of the marketers surveyed, 72% agreed that measuring return on investment from social media was too hard. More specific to having a brand page or account, 56% of marketers said turnover was too high and 52% said their fan or follower base was not target-appropriate.  Social media marketers reported that 48% of their budgets are used to attract new members to their pages, with 28% focused on social sites such as Facebook or Twitter, and 20% from off of these sites. On the other hand, 19% of budgets are used to keep current Facebook or Twitter communities engaged, and an additional 20% of budgets are spent on paid media to maintain existing fan bases.

Oops.  Maybe it’s hard because we’re looking at the wrong metrics?  If your base of friends was constantly changing in the real world, you might ask yourself why your relationships don’t last.  Could it be because you’re not working hard enough to keep your friends?  Your mom might have warned you against hanging around with the “wrong” crowd – maybe she had a social media insight?  If the base is target inappropriate, is what you’re doing to attract them off-base as well?  Or maybe they are the right target and it’s your thinking that’s off?

My friends are worth a lot to me and I try to do everything I can to let them know that and grow our relationships, which I guess is an ROI focus but just seems right.  I’d market that way too.  You?

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