[Read part one, the overview here]

We're Not Fighting, We Just Have Different Goals

In blogs and blog comments there's some contentiousness about the goals and measurement of social media.

The debate is simply a misunderstanding. There are multiple goals, purposes, or functions of social media, including brand management, new business, customer service, and repeat business.

[I've noticed two more functions since I made this chart a month ago. I'll cover market research and competitive intelligence at another time.]

A lot of the debate is simply people who are branding-focused arguing with people who are direct-marketing-oriented.

Neither is wrong- it's a matter of what your goals are. We can stop arguing about whether Social Media's KPI should be fans, or market share, or revenue. It depends on your goal.

Which evokes my 5 steps of optimization: First choose a goal, then quantify it, then iterate toward your goal with flexible strategies and tactics.

Another concept you should understand is my 6 spheres of social media, which classifies prospects according to their distance or proximity to you. The following diagram comes into play in several of the social media functions.

Spheres one, two, and six figure into the following diagram about how the four functions of social media interact:

Get people onto your social lists: read section three about incentivizing action in social media.

Social list increases chances of conversion: the 6 spheres illustrates that people in your social list are closer to the cult of buyers you're looking for. They'll hear about you more often, which means it increases your mindshare.

Use special offers as incentives to purchase: there's more about this below and in section three here.

So, given the various functions, what role does ROI play, and how can you maximize it? You'll have to overcome these challenges:

Vigilant Chatter Monitoring and Quick Responses: Not monitoring chatter and responses to your campaigns can lead to negative PR. Social media is not neutral. People may lose affinity if you execute poorly

Vetted Messaging: Plan your messaging. Given a variety of character limits on different social platforms, how can you best say the various things you want to say? How will you combine social responses with the brand messages or offers you want to convey?

Planning and Protecting Offers: Do you have an offer for social media people only? Do you have one for repeat buyers? Do you have a special offer for each social platform? Plan these and then be disciplined. If a repeat buyer's special is offered to a new social customer, you make your repeat customers feel less special.

No Guts No Glory: If you want to get attention and interest in social media, you need to be unique, interesting, and stimulating.

Give People a Reason: Why should they do what you want? Because you're so awesome! Oh wait, that's doesn't work. Ok how about a carrot for the donkey? Watch your conversion funnels and add more carrots at conversion points that are slow.

Brian Carter is Director of SEO, PPC, and Social Media for Fuel Interactive, cofounder of TweetROI, and a passionate keynote speaker.