How less planning improves Return on Investment.

There was quite a lot of buzz on twitter today as the covers came off the  intrigue that was the latest in the Social media reportage by  @sizemore and @documentally. As you can read from Sizemores and Ourmaninside blog the idea was spawned on a Friday and through the weekend Sizemore and Documentally were working towards a deadline whose purpose would be embargo’d until delivered. You can see the results of the event on their blogs but I wanted to highlight the value of the JFDI, low planning, fast tools, approach to this event and its long term Return on Investment for Reuters.


Whilst I had no prior knowledge of event or the purpose it was clear from a few tweets that @Sizemore and @Documentally were planning something and it was likely to be something interesting in the Social Media sphere.

For my own part the occasional twitters and vague suggestions added to an awareness that something was going to occur. Between this genuine lack of knowledge on my part  and the clear indications from Documentally and Sizemore that something was afoot the messages were engaging and intriguing enough to capture the imagination of others.

This on going short notice conversation created a level of awareness which in later speculative conversations I had put some numbers to.

If we were to apply some maths to this then lets assume a few values. For instance the value of a twitter follower might be as cheap as possible so  lets call a twitter followers worth 10pence each. Between @documentally, @sizemore and myself there are 5,495 followers on hand lets round that up and call that £550 a day of advertising should someone have paid for the event to be twittered. Followers are like magazine subscribers theres no way you can assure that they are paying attention to your Advert but the magazine is going to tell you ther subscriber base so I am going to reuse that model a little here.

As I write this I can see that there have been at least 5 separate blog posts detailing the event. The potential cost for “paying for those posts” to be written might  be set at £50 per post.

Its hard to “guess” the reader base and the spread and subsequent retweeting of content from these sites and events so lets assume a very light 5% response thats 27 other readers whom will be the ideal audience for the content. As a result they are going to be worth 20% of the value of your advertising £110 making another £2,910 of advertising costs.

two days of creating awareness  £1100

five blog posts £250

Hitting a target audience £2,910

I make that about £4,320 ( not including tax ) of awareness capital that is generated for and on behalf of Reuters through @Documentally and @sizemore taking a direct approach to creating content.

Remember there was no overplanning and over communication in the event in as much as it was discussed, agreed and delivered.


The availability of Social Media is several fold compared to traditional marketing means. The opportunity to stumble upon content because it is being discussed not just in one Forum but on a variety of platforms from twitter, wordpress, qik, phreadz, websites, lifecast, and flickr. The multiple channels and distribution of content allows for various levels of interaction and access. Again Reuters been approaching this as advertisers they would have paid for content at each of those sites and those adverts may have had to have been for a mimum of 1 week but lets keep the fantasy figures running and say they would have had to spend a further £1000 to get access to those sites for adveritsing.


The tools used by @Sizemore and @Documentally have an almost zero barrier to entry and have a reach that has already been establised as being further than many previous forms of media. On top of this the accessibility for the viewer and the presenter to contribute and comment and possibly direct the content increased the initial value in participating and the subsequent value in watching and commenting.

In taking an approach to embrace an idea, create the content, deliver the agreed plan and to recoup the awareness it demonstrates that avoiding over planning and avoiding over discussing a Social Media project results in an approach that  may well be where the real return on investments exist.

Thanks for reading.

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5 Comments on “How less planning improves Return on Investment.

  1. Of all the posts I’ve read on the value of twitter and social media this is the only one I’ve seen to use actual figures to highlight just how useful a marketing tool it is. I’ll be passing it on!

  2. Great post. I really enjoyed the way you used traditional media models to determine tangible new media values. Very intersting. Thanks!

  3. Hi, I love this post and the thinking behind it. The only thing is I feel you have undervalued the value of the twitter follower. Whilst it does not cost anything up front to follow someone or to be followed, it does I feel cost more to build a considerable network of followers who will pay attention to you and continue following you.

    Take @sizemore and @documentally for example, a brief look at their twitter profiles shows that they have together tweeted over 30,000 times – now this is time consuming work. Also they don’t tweet any old guff (mostly) it is insightful, informative and all the rest of the stuff that goes into actually providing real value for their followers. Factor in costs such as time and equipment etc… spent on various meetups, blogs and videos they also create (whilst not directly about the event in question, the have been of relevance to a percentage of their followers in their list thereby making strengthening their networks) then this starts to add up.

    I could, in say a few days build up a follower list as big as theirs, but the difference would be that nearly all of my followers would be the type that auto follow and wouldn’t be the type who really listen to me (as well as not knowing anything about me).

    @documentally and @sizemore had already invested considerable resource in setting up the right network of valued followers to then be able to easily/quickly spread relevant news. You can spam the same number of people, but would they be the same quality of follower as the ones who did hear about the news?