*This content was previously published on Social Conversations in December 2009. Social conversations was a product of Serengeti Communications which closed in 2012.
What is success? What is failure?
When it comes to social media marketing, unless you have a plan to measure what your are doing how will you know? There’s a lot to be said aboutplanning your social media strategy,knowing where your audience is,understanding how they talk about you, getting something to go “viral”,accepting the negative with the positive, throwing up social media tactics like darts to a bulls-eye. It’s subjects we’ve talked about here onSocial Conversations, but unless you have a plan to measure what you are doing, you’ll never know if what you are doing is worth the investment you are putting into it.
While there’s a lot of numbers counting, and those numbers can be very subjective, you still need to have a social media measurement plan. For example, counting the number of Twitter followers you have, isn’t really a great measure if you want to measure the quality of your reach. However if you are just starting up a Twitter account, monitoring and counting how many followers you are attaining on a daily or weekly basis can be decent way of gauging how you are progressing in the beginning. Once you reach a certain threshold, counting the number of followers can be and overwhelming task to keep up with and weed out the spammers. It’s the same for counting the number of fans you have, or friends on other social networking sites. It can be a good “check” but it can’t be the be all end all to your measurement plan.
A social media marketing measurement plan needs to include a lot of checks and balances. For example, how do you know if the content you are creating is really valuable to your audience? Do you count the number of retweets you get? Or is it the number of retweets from those “quality” followers that you’ve predefined on a list. Maybe it’s the number of times your content has been embedded? Perhaps the amount of traffic that is being driven to your page, or maybe even adding in how much time on site do the visitors coming into the content are averaging.
Then there’s the whole integration with “offline”, if you have those types of measurement. Even if you are an online business, you likely still need to track something offline. How are people hearing about you? Did someone tell them to come to your Facebook page while they talked on a flight to San Diego? Maybe they sat next to someone at a Coyotes hockey game and it was suggested they check out your video. How do you account for and measure those aspects of your social media marketing efforts?
When it comes down to it, if you can’t measure it, you need to ask yourself if you should be really implementing that particular social media tactic?
Putting together a social media measurement plan should be an integral part of your social media strategy. It makes sure your entire team is on the same page when it comes to what and how things are going to be measured. It also gives your team the ammunition they need to prove or disprove that something is working to help or harm your brand or company. How you are measuring is just as important as what you are measuring as well. This is why it’s important that everyone from the C-Suite executives to your data analytics teams understand what the end goals are and what & how you are measuring to see if your efforts are helping you meet those goals.
At the end of the day do you want to really be answering the question from your CMO “Well why are we still doing this?” with “Well because Oprah’s on Twitter now!” ?
Child With Measuring Book Photo Credit: Flickr User Goldberg
Archeology Team Measuring Photo Credit: Flickr User Wessex Archeology