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Sweating over an ROI model for Social? Build it and they will come…

Let’s look at the numbers…. 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook daily, and there are an average 400 million tweets per day. These numbers speak for themselves. Social is not a choice for a business. It is inevitable.

Due to social there has been a shift in the dynamic of the relationship between brands and their customers – the power now lies firmly in the hands of consumers. Social has enabled customers more choice and more voice. Long gone are the days when what was issued from a company is taken as read. As brands you can put messages out there, but it is essential that you have a role in the social dialogue - take control of it, be nimble and respond to what is said. At the bottom line either a business starts getting social or it stops being a business.

For companies that don’t take social seriously now this presents the same risk as companies 15 years ago that didn’t take the Internet seriously. Businesses then that failed to adapt to the change went onto fail completely …..Kodak is a notable example. The same has already happened with the dawn of Social Media. It’s at times of this kind of monumental change, when the winners and losers are decided. You can really own the market in which you operate. That is the first-movers advantage

There is no better proof of first-movers advantage in Social than Maersk Line who now owns the Social Web for the container shipping industry. Not the traditional media owners, nor industry commentators nor any of the other vendors in the same space but Maersk Line; in an industry where there is no lack of ‘industrial strength impersonal’, it is now seen as trusted source and an engaging brand for all things in and around container shipping.

They have become the BBC World Service of their B2B world and it is this activation and cultivation of a 1 million+ people across 10 networks that is now enabling them to innovate. Innovate to find sales opportunities, innovate to drive efficiencies and innovate to serve their customers better.

My guess is that the executive team at Maersk Line never sat down to build an RoI model for Social but rather some brave person said, “I have an idea! What if…?” Now two years later they own a space, which previously didn’t even exist.

So if you are waiting till there is a proven RoI model for Social in your industry - you might be waiting too long.