What Is Return On Involvement?

Return on Involvement is what you get back from involving people offline and online. Most of the time, its value is in the form of love, fame, or business.

I started 2013 out in a great way. The term, well my term: “Return on Involvement” had made it to the mashable 2013 buzzword list. Involvement is what I breathe every day. I guess involvement was my revolution against social media tools becoming mainstream. I felt like I needed to go above the buzzword bingo and cliches attached to social media and the fact that everybody suddenly where a social media expert because they had created a Facebook page back in the Facebook hey-days.

Return on Involvement is a term I have been working with for the past 4 years and also the title of my Danish book. Its mention on the mashable buzzword list increased the traffic to and, my personal website, and my business website dramatically. Now, I can’t say that I directly had a say in having them select Return on Involvement as a 2013 buzzword. However, I have a slight feeling that my preaching to the choir had done its share of the work. That and the fact that I have been announcing that I am launching the second edition of my book “Return on Involvement: How To Use The Social Web To Create Business Unusual”, this time in English, summer 2013.

Return on Involvement is not rocket science. It is, however, something I consistently remind social media experts about when they start getting all social media tools geeky.

Why is Return on Involvement so important for social media?

Social media tool geekiness is something we had built a whole media industry around. For me, this industry is the same as looking at a hammer and observing that people who invented the hammer keeps adding features to it. The hammer is important in itself, but do we need to hear every time it has a new feature? “Oh, you just added a flashlight to the hammer.” Good for you. It’s not the important part, not to me at least. I have added the stuff I think is important about involvement in my involvement manifesto, which you can pick up on my website.

Has anybody ever said to you: “Do you remember that time on Facebook?”

And then told a great story about what you had experienced on Facebook together?

Never happened to me. And I have been a lot on Facebook.

The important part is how these social media tools get you closer to people. Close enough to maintain an offline relation for some time without seeing people all the time. I have people in the US (I live in Elsinore, Denmark) who I type (not talk) more with than my neighbor or people in my city. For better or worse. I have friends I don’t see anymore because we stopped talking and started a consistent social media relationship instead. The sort of relationship where we like each other updates a lot, but we don’t connect or meet. We don’t know each other anymore. Not in that way at least. I see a lot of her photos though. I also have a business that is facilitated by social media, so it’s a double-edged sword. But I encourage you to see it as a facilitator instead of the core of the relationship.

Typing isn’t the core of the relationship not personal or business-wise.

Talking, meeting, and hanging out is.” Ah, those champagne nights in Stockholm”. “That one time we ran through the streets of London at 2 o’clock in the morning”. “The food at that restaurant that we loved.” Business-wise you can see these meetings as strategic dates. Generating stories together. To know people. To have something in common that can’t be set as an “interest” of ours on social media. Those are the experiences we need to share in order to deepen our relationship. In order to get from know to like to trust and to love.

That is why you need to use social media in addition to stories and use online involvement as a facilitator for offline involvement. In combination, you can measure the return on involvement through hardcore online analytics tools.

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