The Right Metrics

The Great Debate
Only 30% of companies are investing in social media and even fewer are performing some sort of measurement and monitoring. This may be the case today; however, I imagine that this is just a precursor to a very different tomorrow, with very different expectations.

Recently, I’ve seen several articles like speak of the “hijacking” of public relations and communications by marketing. This is very similar to arguments that I’ve seen concerning social media and marketing.  The issue is that many of these concepts are truly facets of the other, overlapping, and inextricable yet expanding in different directions. They are not mutually exclusive, clean and clear cut, so they tend to become a target of debate. Furthermore, social media is new, made possible and necessary by technology.

To me, there is greater similarity than difference, between the roles of public relations, communications, and social media, which makes it easier to see each topic as a subset of the marketing discipline and to therefore approach each concept with a similar performance expectation. The expectation is primarily that a business’ activities are measurable and value additive. This takes nothing away from the differences in the roles that each facet plays. In fact, the establishment of the underlying basis of measurability should make more businesses comfortable with the concept of social media.

Concept to Implementation
In ROI Old & New we touched on the importance of identifying meaningful assumptions/key drivers to track so that results, (data and analysis), provide meaningful management insights. Significant time must be spent investigating and narrowing down what we intend to track so that precious resources are not wasted on useless “fish fodder.”

In ROI & Social Media we discussed the fact that that there is no new magic solution. Social Media efforts should be considered an investment and treated as such by measuring its ROI. However, many are struggling with getting from the concept to implementation. There are two white papers that I’ve read recently which really help organizations connect the dots.

Argyle Social’s white paper Social Media Review offers a nice enterprise-wide perspective and addresses topics such as defining your audience, and measuring your effectiveness:
  • How many followers should I have?
  • What is a good click rate?
  • What is a good interaction rate?
  • What is a good conversion rate?

They recognize that, “These questions do not have clear answers in part because there are no clear industry benchmarks or methodologies for building internal benchmarks.” Although we are clear on the requirement for measurability the how is still in its infancy.

Radian6 ROI of Social Media provides a nice industry overview and personalized approach that is easily consumable by the C-Suite. Specifics are provided for the marketer, the PR Professional, and the Customer Service Professional. They even provide explicit examples of ROI calculations.

The two articles I talk about here are comprehensive, providing an overview in 30 pages or less. Although measurement of social outreach efforts are not currently an industry standard or a requirement, I challenge you to live a little ahead of the curve - get informed.

About the Author

Maisha Smart, MBA founded Finance and Marketing to help small businesses excel, by bridging the gap between finance and marketing processes. Some of her favorite activities include fine arts, a good debate, and social engagement.

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