I’ve been in many meetings with senior executives where the topic has turned to social media, and sooner or later, THE question comes up –
“So, explain to me again why we should be playing around with [insert your social media tool of choice here]? What’s the ROI of doing this? I just don’t see how talking about what you ate for dinner on your ‘blog’ is going to help us accomplish the mission.”
Now, at this point, I’m usually fighting an internal battle between jamming a pencil in my eye or resisting the urge to shake the executives and yell, “why don’t you understand the benefits of open collaboration and communication??!!!”
Granted, the discussion doesn’t usually devolve to that level (but imagine how much more fun meetings would be if they did), but I’ve spoken to a number of people in the Gov 2.0 community who have experienced similar frustrations. While there’s no shortage of resources for how to measure the ROI of social media, but unlike commercial companies, our government doesn’t use social media to make money or to sell products. One can’t measure the value of using social media in a government agency in sales or revenue. How do you measure the value of transparency? How do you measure the value of open collaboration? And even if you could, how do you make the case that transparency is worth the investment?
As Katie Paine says in Jason Falls’ excellent post on this topic, “Ultimately, the key question to ask when measuring engagement is, ‘Are we getting what we want out of the conversation?'”
So, are government agencies getting what they want out of the conversations?
That’s why Booz Allen Hamilton has teamed up with GovLoop to conduct an investigation into the usage of social media by our government at the federal, state, and local levels. We want to identify and assess the impact that the use of social media has had on efficiency, morale, budgets, outreach, internal communications, leadership effectiveness and other results.
To that end, we are conducting a survey of GovLoop members (survey is only open to members of GovLoop, so if you haven’t joined yet, this is a good reason to do so!) to get their input on what’s worked, what hasn’t, and why. The results of this survey will be published in a report and (hopefully) shared later this month at the Gov 2.0 Expo in Washington, DC.
For each survey respondent, GovLoop will also make a donation to the Social Media Club – Education Connection to further the development of social media education at our country’s colleges and universities.
If you’re a member of GovLoop, please take the survey and help us identify what types of benefits (if any) you and your organization are seeing from social media.