ROI of Social Media (#ROISM) Roundup - Social Media Weekend (#SMWKND)

Here, below, is a Storify roundup of the panel I helped assemble and moderated for Social Media Weekend (#smwknd), titled "Social Media and the Bottom Line".  It was, in a way, dropping the other shoe on a talk I gave the previous two #SMwknds titled "The ROI of Social Media" (presentation here), which covered ways you can figure out if you're making as much from social media as you spend executing it.

It's important to sometimes do some hard-headed analysis and figure out if, amid the buzz and excitement, the cost really really justifies the effort and expense. (I try to apply both right- and left-brain, creativity and analysis, to my work.) This year, I thought, it would be good to invite folks who -- like most of my clients -- have to justify the expense.

We were very fortunate (in large part thanks to Columbia U's @sree, a longtime colleague and friend) to have Eason Jordan, head of Now This News, Jonathan Perelman of Buzzfeed and Zach Seward of Quartz -- who did abashedly note he is really an editorial, not business guy, but had a great managerial and operational view, as did all the panelists.

What jumped out to me as a common theme was that these new news organizations (two of which -- NTN and Quartz -- launched last fall) had social so imbued into their thinking and processes, that it was not even a question of whether they could cost-justify social media, but rather that if they didn't succeed in social, they would not be a success. These three, at least, get it -- get that they are not homepage-first media, that people discover and consume media (or "content" if you prefer) when, where and how they want: on whatever screens, through whatever feeds, via whatever social or other mechanisms make the most sense to them. That for all their communities, a recommendation or referral from a friend or connection is often what makes it valuable enough to look at, and share further. Jonathan even shared a graphic (we can ask if it's ok to publish it) of how much virality they can measure on a piece, how much added traffic social sharing can get them beyond any publishing they do.

I've peppered the below with comments and observations that I hope elucidate the Tweets. Reading them, you'll get a good sense of what was covered.