ROI and the power of the crowd
One way we can measure the power of social media is by measuring the ROI (Return on Investment) This would work for companies, (although many companies just start with social media and think its free but that’s another discussion) and even for president Obama and his social media presidential election campaign of 2008. Here you can simply measure the effort, and the cost of the effort you put into your social media marketing campaign and measure the eventual outcome, whether that is an increase in sales or an increased brand awareness depends on you initial goals. However, it becomes a little bit harder if you try to measure the ROI when Iranian Freedom Fighters are using Twitter in the aftermath of the Iranian presidential elections of 2009…
In the aftermath of the presidential elections supporters of Mousavi, who lost the elections due to irregularities, used Twitter to organise protests. Social media played a big role in the Freedom Movement that arose after these presidential elections, who used it to inform the outside word of the unfair elections and suppressive regime of Ahmadinejad. You will probably remember Neda Agha-Soltan, the girl whose death was videotaped and broadcast over the internet. Her death became iconic for the struggle of the Iranian Freedom Movement, but it could also be seen as an indicator of the importance of the internet in ‘modern’ revolutions.
Nevertheless, Iranian authorities working for re-elected president Ahmadinejad were doing their best to restrict the outflow of news about the protest to the outside world. Eventually in an attempt to stop the revolts the authorities filtered access to facebook, and mobile phone services were shut down.
Because of the extensive use and importance of social media to protesters we can state that social media was a powerful tool for the Mousavi supporters.
Therefore, I want to ask you; can one only speak of, or measure the power of social media (in this case Twitter), from a business point of view? Or are there other indicators of the power of social media? Is, for example, the amount of likes! on a Facebook company page an indicator of the business’ influence?