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Social Media Strategy ROI: It’s in the Eye of the Beholder

A few months back I started with a new client. Many of you who follow me on Twitter may already have been introduced to this client, as it is my daughter, 13 year old @AstronautAbby. I call her a client because, well, she is in essence a client – although she doesn’t pay me in dollars. My pay is in the investment we are making in her future. So a bit about Abby’s story. Abby has wanted to be an astronaut since she was 7 years old and this desire has grown very strong this past year as she has been mapping out plan for high school, college (United States Airforce Academy) and beyond to make the goal a reality. She has shown interest in blogging about science topics for some time, so with the push of a recent project for National History Day, we decided it was time to set up a social media presence for Abby with some very specific goals.

Her strategy includes:

A blog –, Twitter – @AstronautAbby and a Facebook fan page. The goal is simple: for Abby to connect and engage with people who can encourage her and possibly help her to reach her long-term goals. Her blog focuses on science related topics and updates of what activities and events she is participating in. Her Twitter account is for connecting with people all over the world, but specifically NASA engineers, astronauts and others who may be able to offer advice or help along the way. Her Facebook fan page is a place for people to stay connected who want to receive updates about her adventures.

It’s only been about one month since we started this strategy. She has written 5 blog posts, 250 tweets and a handful of Facebook posts. But the support and encouragement has been amazing and I would say the return on investment (ROI) so far has been out of this world (excuse the pun)! It really proves ROI is in the eye of the beholder.

Here are some of the things that have happened since the inception of Astronaut Abby’s online strategy:

1)    Two astronauts have tweeted her encouragement and support. This has meant the world to Abby. Her #1 goal on Twitter was to connect with real astronauts. 2)    Many employees at NASA have tweeted her, written on her blog, sent her emails, etc. to encourage and support her. 3)    She has gotten an interview from an International Space Station engineer for her National History Day project. 4)    A professor from UCLA has emailed her and given her a bunch of advice about course studies and possible majors she may want to consider to reach her goals. 5)    We gained interest and awareness of the last shuttle launch, the Endeavour for April 19 and actually got tickets to attend and have lunch with an astronaut. It was Twitter that put this right in front of us and made us take action. 6)    I got chosen to attend the NASA Tweetup event for the Endeavour launch (you had to be 18 years old to apply).  I will get to participate in two days of activities and launch events including the closest spot in the house for launch viewing. Abby will be video-conferenced into many of the tweetup events and will hopefully have a chance to meet many of the participants outside of the official events. 7)    More people than we can even count have talked to her, encouraged her and cheered her on to reach her goals through Twitter, Facebook and her blog. One last goal I have for Abby is for her to continue to learn about networking and why it really matters to build relationships for her future. Yesterday she said to me, “I am so excited mom that you will have my business cards when attending the NASA Tweetup, this is going to be a great networking opportunity.” I had to laugh, how many 13 year olds do you know that even know what networking is or the power that it holds to the keys of their futures? It makes me proud that my daughter understands this and I owe a lot of that to the amazing community she has begun to build online. And, ok maybe I get some credit, as building strategic relationships to grow businesses is my bread and butter. I share this with you so that you can see why and how social media really does intersect with real life. And how even a simple, but well constructed online strategy can help people and businesses reach their goals. Also, the focus is often on measurement and that is very important, but with online strategy it is often many little intangible items that lead to a tangible goal. Building strategic business relationships takes time, effort and commitment. The tangible results are usually not seen in the early days of a strategy. But in the long run a big contract, new client or paid scholarship to one of the most prestigious schools in the country is worth the investment made early on.

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