Question. When it comes to your business blog, twitter account or other social media foray, how do you measure success?

With the question of ROI on social media paramount on (or at least looming in) the minds of the financial analysts, it is tempting to fall back on the numbers. And while hits, followers, friends and connections are measures to be sure, are they the measure of social networking or web 2.0 successes?

In a recent roundtable with colleagues, a communications manager described a recent campaign designed to do nothing more than exponentially increase hits on a consultant’s blog. The campaign sounded like a radio station-style promotional gimmick with one major exception: the overwhelming majority of those lured to the consultant’s blog were not in any way, shape or form targets for the blog’s content. The goal was simply to achieve thousands of “hits.” The campaign was a blatant example of false advertising. Over 99% of those hitting the site, left as quickly as they arrived…never to visit the blog again.

In the spirit of giving the benefit of the doubt, perhaps the objective of the “hits” campaign was to demonstrate the potential of web 2.0 to the powers that be. But, assuming the best, the mere accumulation of numbers is a waste of time, creativity and resources.

If the “numbers” don’t represent relevant targets, the numbers are meaningless. They do not reflect connection, communication or relationship.

Those of us at the table openly scoffed at the folly. Why would anyone invest in such an effort? But a lone voice called us to task, comparing this campaign to the schemes and tools openly designed to increase your number of Twitter followers and Facebook friends…without respect to whether the increase in numbers equates to an increase in relevant connections.

A million followers is an impressive measure. But if they are not relevant targets, its little more than a noisy crowd.