The Case Foundation sports plenty of digital cred.
The organization was created 15 years ago by AOL founder Steve Case and his wife Jean, who both played a star role in the maturation of the online era during the mid to late 1990s. Accordingly, the Case Foundation’s mission is to leverage the power of the Internet and technology to create a positive impact on society.
This morning as part of Social Media Week in Washington, DC I attended an event hosted by Sapient Government Services entitled “Forces of Change, Social Media Past, Present and Future.” Jenna Sauber, the Case Foundation’s interactive communications manager, was one of the panelists.
After some rather vanilla banter among the panelists about social media tactics, content methodologies and the importance of audience engagement, it came time for Q&A from the crowd.
My question to Jenna: How do the executive leadership and the Board of Directors at the Case Foundation evaluate the success of its social media program?
Her answer paraphrased: We have looked at the number of followers and the size of our community. Now, we’re trying to measure audience engagement by tracking comments and sharing of content. These things are fluid as we evolve with the platforms.
While community and conversation (along with organic SEO) are certainly a start when it comes to evaluating impact, I view these benchmarks as merely the natural outcome of social media participation.
For social media to deliver a truly measurable ROI, goals have to align with the strategic direction of the organization. For Strategic Communications Group’s (Strategic) clients, priorities are typically related to the achievement of sales benchmarks – lead generation, prospect cultivation and deal capture.
The Case Foundation needs to take the all important next step and make social media truly core to the achievement of its mission. With their pedigree, I’d expect nothing less from Steve and Jean.