Social Media Metrics 101

by: Randy F. Price

Our clients, potential customers and the brands they represent continue to challenge the notion of social media marketing. I believe this is a good thing, keeps us on our toes. There is an ongoing discussion (similar to the internet and web marketing circa 1999) relative to Social Media Marketing’s (SMM) significance in the marketing mix, ROI and about which department, agency or functional team is best qualified to manage this new hybrid of  market research, CRM, PR/Outreach,word of mouth and advocacy marketing vehicle, channel or platform. . Take your pick of definitions du jour. Oh, and if you didn’t partake of this month’s survey, please do, love to get your take. But I digress.

Here is the logic flow of a presentation recently made to a billion dollar company that asked about the engagement value of social media marketing.

Customer Behavior

The research shows that consumers who research options online are social media participants and by the way that channel yielded the highest number of applicants (lead generation). Customers (current or potential) trust “someone like themselves” to the tune of 68% (vs. 30%, radical change in 2 short years) as reported by Edelman.

Economic Impact Black SLide

Research from London School of Economics and Bain Consulting documented that the brands with the most recommendations online in its category grow 2.5 times the category average. This key research is the fundamental underpinning of the Net Promoter Score systems.Clearly the goal (at least one of the most significant ones) of social media marketing is to inspire and lead positive conversations, engagements and ultimately recommendations.

These “discussions” also impact search results especially if accompanied by a relevant link, and not mention the straight forward approach of providing  compelling call to action, measurement and optimization analysis.

When you look at the share of voice  (actual social media mentions or conversations) split out by competitors, correlated against  social media spending,, it strongly indicates (and validates)  impact.

Spending is not the only criteria, compelling content is also critical. And of course, determining if those conversations achieved the desired result is important and should be defined upfront.

It should go without saying that benchmarking and optimizing should always be a key performance goal and a fundamental objective of any SMM initiative. If you believe, as we do, that this is just the beginning of a new interactive and truly 1-to-1 dialogue with your customers, then establishing real empirical metric targets for success measurement is critical.

To be clear, ultimately sales is the goal. However, building a model that allows for evolutionary precision as well as a variety of key performance indicators  which take into account how the social media tactics you are using are impacting your business objective is always part of the roadmap to success with any innovative approach.

Being a fan of K.D. Paine, I found this podcast interview with her to be spot on and does an excellent job of articulating the symbiotic relationship between objective and key performance metrics.

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