The measurability of social media is sort of a big deal right now. All the biggies are going on about measurement and ROI and tossing lots of other happy buzzywords.
Here’s the thing…social media are a bunch of tools. Measuring these tools is akin to measuring a hammer or a ruler – each will help to get the job done, but you can’t gauge the success of your home improvement project simply from the tools you use, you have to gauge the outcome.
To say you can measure social media is misleading. You can measure the results of a social media campaign, but saying you’re going to measure social media itself is silliness. You can’t measure Twitter. However you can measure the amount of followers you have and how it converts to traffic or sales.
See the difference?
Here’s what you should be measuring instead of social media.
Have sales gone up after a particular social media campaign? Did a specific product do better than another? Which campaigns show the most promise? Trace your sales back to the source. They may be the result of a discount code offer on Twitter or a coupon shared on a Facebook group. That YouTube campagin might have also referred some sales. Keep a careful eye on all your campaigns to gauge which promotions receive the best response.
The various social media tools can be a wonderful traffic booster. There’s nothing more rewarding than the spike one gets with a good Digg or viral post on Twitter. It’s not difficult to see how much traffic is referred to you from Stumble Upon or Facebook. Use the traffic patterns to discover which blog posts or campaigns are the most successful or receive the most interest.
If you’re hired by a brand to create a buzz marketing campaign, this is easy enough to measure. First, do a search on the networks, blogs, and forums to learn what is being said about you. Then, see if he these campaigns are converting to sales. Create a graph to see when you’re receiving the biggest buzz and why. Also, monitor the networks for negative feedback as this is the best way to learn how to improve.
4. Comments and feedback
We’re learning now that consumers want to have a say in the products they use. If they feel they’ve been treated poorly after using a particular service, they want to be able to tell someone and know that the right people will get the message. If they received good service, they want to give credit where it’s due. They especially like the be able to visit a company blog and offer feedback in the comments or reach out via Twitter or Facebook. If you’re receiving more questions, comments and email (positive or negative) after launching a social media campaign, this is a good indicator of the campaigns success. It means that the people who use your product or service feel comfortable communicating their concerns and knowing that you will look into their comments.
5. Subscriptions, Signups, Memberships
Where are your subscribers coming from? Why are people signing up for your newsletter? Are they becoming members because of a special incentive program offered via a social media crusade? Measure the numbers, not the tool.
6. Growth to Social Groups
One way to measure the popularity of a product, brand or social media campaign is by measuring the growth to the various social media accounts. For example, do the amount of Facebook fans or Twitter followers rise? This means you’re on the right track. If your numbers tank, you might need to work on your delivery.
7. Advertising Revenue
A spike in revenue might be the result of a successful social media campaign. Keep careful eye on all your advertising programs in order to gauge why folks are responding.
8. New Clients and Business
Are clients and business coming to you instead of the other way around? Are you finding you need to work less at promotions because of all the buzz surrounding your product and service? New clients or business is an excellent indicator that a social media campaign is working.
Before you begin any social media campaign, you’ll need to list your goals. For example, you may be hiring a social media professional to bring in business, or perhaps you’re starting a Twitter account to drive traffic to a blog. List your goals and the ways you would like to achieve these goals. Did you hit your end result? Why or why not?
For the most part, success is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone defines it differently and every one takes different paths to achieve their success. However, you can use social media as a way to achieve your success which is measured by a combination of all of the above. Every positive outcome due to a social media program is a measure of the program’s success.
Do you agree? Do you feel social media is something that can be measure? How do you measure your social media campaigns?