Social Media Strategy: Let's Stop Talking ROI Already
There's been a lot of talk lately about ROI as it pertains to Social Media Strategy with regard to recruiting efforts. Most notable is a great post by Michael Long, "The Red Recruiter".
Michael does a bang-em-up job of aggregating ROI-related posts and tossing in his own analysis.
And while I've migrated into Network Analysis and Social Business Design, a big part of my heart still lies in Talent Acquisition. That's why I don't like seeing the Recruiting Industry having the wrong discussion.
Here's what I mean. The Recruitosphere needs to look out for something I call . . .
"The ROI Monster"
I've noticed many in our industry (as well as the marketing industry) opine about ROI - it's a constant source of debate. However, in the mind of a finance professional (like the CFO you're likely pitching), ROI is not only a waste of time, it's a legitimacy-killer. Here's why:
ROI only accounts for the "what
" (i.e. what will we get back for the investment? [i.e. "return"])
What ROI doesn't account for is time
. Trust me, I wish life was as simple as ROI. It would have saved me hours of projects in business school, to say the least!
= how long will it take to get the "what" above?
= how sure are we that we're going to get the "what" above?
In my humble opinion, the absolute worst thing a Recruiting Leader can do is walk into a financial meeting talking about ROI. If they do, they won't even get to 2nd base.
What I'd recommend is not even talking $$$ in terms of justification. It's an investment to achieve parity with the competition, regardless of ROI. Even speaking in terms of legitimate financial measures such as NPV and EVA isn't necessary. Because if you ignore engaging a Social Media Recruiting Strategy and your opponent doesn't, that's a recipe for death. Now that's the real risk you should be talking about!
I'll follow up soon with a post about how to sell Social Media Strategy. Here's a quick tip before the post comes out: Play a little game theory with the CFO. Simply pull the prisoner out of the "Prisoner's Dilemma" and insert a recruiter. You'll get your money . . . quick. You just have to shift the discussion from one of ROI (just the "what"), and start talking in terms of both time and risk as well.
P.S. It's good to see the Recruitosphere shift from the ridiculous, wasteful process of massive-friending that plagued our space in the earlier days of Social Media. We were the laughing stock then, but things are swinging back in our favor as we find our way. Now we just need to start selling the right way, which means leaving ROI at the door where it belongs.