We’re constantly speaking to clients, prospects and friends about the power of social media and blogging. What kind of power and what ROI expectations usually become part of the conversation. I certainly understand the need to justify marketing spend; my marketing roots are in direct response, where measurement and ROI reign supreme. That said I think that too much focus is spent on ROI when it comes to social media marketing and blogging.

Let me ask you… what was the ROI of your last press release? How about your last trade show? These are two marketing tactics and strategies that are part of most organizations marketing, yet I’m pretty confident that ROI is something that isn’t factored into them (for the most part); they’re just ‘things that marketing needs to do.’

I sort of liken a good company blog to someone speaking at a trade show. It can impart knowledge, build brand leadership, and help a company’s visibility, much like leading a breakout session at a trade show. If you don’t blog, or guide the conversation, you’re like a trade show attendee sitting in the crowd listening to a speaker, and that’s okay, but not nearly as powerful.

I like to think of social media as the place where conversation can occur around good content – a blog perhaps, or even a smart post or share. In this way, social media is much like the networking sessions of a trade show. If you’re active in social media then the conversations are active, your brand is part of this dialogue. If you attend networking sessions you meet prospects, customers, potential partners… you get the idea.

Now marry the two – social media and smart blogging. You’re starting the dialogue (trade show speaker/smart blog post) and then carrying the conversation over to include a larger audience set (networking sessions/social media channels). I don’t know about you, but when I see someone speak at a trade show or event, they usually have a pretty decent gathering around them during the networking sessions. Many who don’t speak enjoy the networking, but end up leaving early to catch Sportscenter in the hotel room… just sayin’!

I believe that social media involvement and blogging are two essentials that need to become part of every organization’s marketing efforts. They’re things that ‘you just need to do.’