ROI of pantsFor those of you who have been in the social space for a while, you may remember Gary Vaynerchuk making waves a few years ago with his now (in)famous one-line retort on the “ROI of social media.”

“What’s the ROI of your mother?”

If this is news to you, here’s the video from YouTube, as well as a blog post he wrote, summarizing his response (and speech).

Back in the day, it made more than a few waves. The “measurati” were pissed off (especially researchers, because their papers and theories never got this kind of attention), and the Millennials loved it.

And many people were both amused and exasperated at the same time.

Because while it was a great line, it was also a line that gave social media naysayers more grist to add to their mill.

Which made the jobs of everyone working in, or on, social media efforts that much harder.

From pants to parents

Gary wasn’t the first person to address the ROI question with a non sequitur. Back in the day, Shel Israel would argue with Katie Paine (and enjoyably so) about the ROI of pants.

Shel’s point being, there are some things you just know are useful, so why waste time and effort on trying to prove something you already knew?

Measurement continues to be one of the areas with which most Social PR pros still have a hard time.

When in Mumbai, wear pants

SPICE & SCoRe workshop Jan 2017

The day before yesterday, I taught a day-long workshop in Mumbai for SCoRe and SPICE on Social PR, to a group of incredibly smart, focused and dedicated post-graduate students (all of whom were wearing pants, btw).

And while we covered a lot of ground – literally, their eyes were rolling in the backs of their heads by the time we finished – the area that blew their mind was when we talked about measurement. 

Because no one had really focused on that in their education thus far; tons of focus on tactics, tag lines, all the fun stuff. But measurement? Nah.

Why #measurePR?

This is, to a large extent, why I started the #measurePR hashtag and chat all those years ago. And while it still blows my mind that there are vast swathes of otherwise really good PR pros using AVEs to measure, I know we’ve come a long way.

But we still have a long way to go.

Jan 2017 #measurePR Twitter chat

To that end, we’re holding the first #measurePR Twitter chat of 2017 tomorrow, Jan. 12, from 12-1 pm ET << official event listing where you can “RSVP,” if you like.

As of now I have every intention of curating the chat, but just in case my internet connection is iffy, my friend and colleague Jen Zingsheim Phillips has graciously offered to co-host the chat… just so that there’s no dead air, as it were, in case I’m a no show due to technical difficulties.

Please join us if you can. We’ve been asking the “measurati” and others for their 2017 measurement predictions, and we’ll be sharing those during the chat.

We want to know what 2017 holds for you in terms of measurement, and how you plan to get there – and something you share might very well help someone else.

Save the date, better yet, show up

Again, it’s 12-1 pm ET on Twitter; just show up with your favorite beverage and a comfy pair of slippers. Pants optional. 🙂 

And maybe we’ll be able to start moving past the ROI of pants and parents when it comes to measuring PR.

Shonali Burke
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke helps smart businesses make bank by taking their communications from corporate codswallop to community cool™. She is also the founder of The Social PR Virtuoso®, which provides online, on-demand training that helps you unleash your inner Social PR superhero. Shonali is mad about ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke