Finding Value In SoMe

There is a lot of discussion about the RIO of social media.  A lot of talk about you “have to do it.”  You “have to be on Twitter.”  You “have to blog.”

It’s nonsense.

But it is nonsense in the same way that “you have to use FIFO inventory control” is nonsense.  Or “you have to outsource IT” is nonsense.  Or “you have to use Lean tools” is nonsense (as much as I’d like it to not be).

The fact of the matter is there are very few absolutes in the way businesses run, outside of legal requirements.  That includes social media.  Would we like to see our organizations more involved in it?  I would say that, if we are SoMe types, they yes.  Just like any other profession would like their profession to be more involved in how the business is run.  So what?

If you want to influence your organization, and you want to show them how important a SoMe investment can be (even the limited investment it requires), you’ve got to quantify.

What’s It Worth To You?

Kinda depends on what you do with it, right?  So let’s brainstorm for a moment about the metrics you are likely to be using in your business.  You can steal these if you want.

  • Recruiting:  Days to fill, cost to fill, % filled by recruiters, retention rate in first 90/180/365 days.
  • Retention: Retention rate, employee engagement, internal movement.
  • Turnover: High potential turnover, turnover by tenure, turnover by critical position

If you really want to know if SoMe is useful to you, do some targeted usage of it to see what happens.  Why targeted?  Well…


It gets very hard to isolate the impact on one variable on a wide population if you don’t have a control group.  In other words, if you make the change for everyone (even if the change is just your level and/or method of communication) it is hard to know if that caused a change, or if there was some other variable or variables that actually caused the change.  Or worse, that the change has a much different impact than you can see, but it is masked by a change driven by some other change.


OK, if you want to know what it is doing for you, take low cost approach to getting into SoMe.  Need an idea?  OK.  And like any good pusher, I’ll tell you that the first one is free.

How hard would it be to get on Twitter and Facebook?  (Answer: It’s not.)  How much would it cost you to reach out to your potential candidates in high school or college? (Answer: Not much.)  How easy would it be to engage you leaders of really important, specialized functions to do web chats with those people on how to prepare to enter the workforce and be better prepared to land a good job in those fields?  (Answer: Very, very easy.)  What kind of impact might that have on your recruiting in those areas?  (Answer:  Sorry, you’ve got to figure that one out on your own.  It’s not totally free.)

So, what’s the value of all this social media stuff.  Dunno.  Depends on your business and how good you are at it.  But to fin out, you’re going to need to parse our your target population, do some experiments and, of course, get some data.

Let me know if you need any help.  I’ll be there for you.


  1. Hmm, in my Google reader the title of this post is “Cashing in on SoMe”
    Funny cause in my part of the world we’ve got SoBe (South Beach), SoFi(South of Fifth on South Beach), and SoMi (South Miami)the acronym for the entertainment district of our part of Miami.

    Thanks for evangelizing the use of a control group. That’s some really great advice and you’re not even charging for that one…

    • I updated the title after I finished writing it, but apparently failed to save that change before it published. My bad.

      I think most people get hung up on the problem of trying to evaluate the *tasks* of social media instead of the outcomes. And, like so many other things, if you really want to know, you’re going to have to get your hands dirty digging through information.

      Thanks for stopping by, John!


  1. […] Finding Value in SoMe, by Dwane Lay (Lean HR blog).  While entering into the world of social media is as simple as signing up and actually using it, the value of social media for businesses is something that needs to be quantified and measured.  Dwane offers up some great, free advice in his post. […]

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