In thinking about metrics, it seems to me that the difficulty is not so much in measuring -- there's plenty you can measure online. So much, in fact, that the conversation needs to be about what to measure, and why. Why is especially important.
Measurement has become more important for marketers in recent years, especially with the increased fragmentation of media.
With digital media, once you know your objective and goals, your strategy can have measurement built right into it -- from the get go.
How do you optimize the myriad ways you could execute a program?
In his book about Social Media Metrics: How to Measure and Optimize Your Marketing Investment (Amazon affiliate link), Jim Sterne talks about:
- identifying goals -- what do you want to accomplish?
- reaching your audience -- how do you get attention?
- identifying influence -- is it just about follower count?
- recognizing sentiment -- can this be automated?
- triggering action -- are you noteworthy?
- hearing the conversation -- are you on top of searches, reviews, likes?
- driving business outcomes -- are you getting results?
- convincing your colleagues -- do you need help with buy-in?
- seeing the future -- will customers truly run the show?
The biggest opportunity for companies still resides with listening. The best place to start with that is by determining what your goal is: do you intend to track brand mentions, are you looking to identify market risks and opportunities, how about improving your campaign while in market.
Other ideas are measuring customer satisfaction beyond the net promoter score, responding to customer inquiries and gain a better understanding of customers so you can anticipate their wants and needs.
Listen, if you were just able to aggregate all of the combined information from what all your employees hear in their separate functions, you'd be able to make true headway in insight to action.
However, listening online is a bit more complicated -- you need to filter out the information that is not important to your business rules. To get to insights you also need fact-based analysis.
The biggest contribution you can have from listening is gaining an understanding of the impact of your participation on business results.Leverage
Measuring the effects of what you're doing in social media marketing is the only way to know what you're going to do next. Just like in all other kinds of marketing. Things like purchase intent and actual purchase need to be part of the conversation.
To leverage the integration of social with other channels and off line experiences and get results, you need to figure out a way to attribute the contribution of each tactic in social (and that of the other media, BTW).
This book gives you a comprehensive look at measurement in social media and the issues/considerations associated with it. Who should read it? If you're an individual or an agency still grappling with how to create a baseline, figure out what needs measuring, and want examples of how other organizations have done it, pick up a copy.
What would you like to see next in the field of measurement and metrics?
[Disclosure: I received a copy of Social Media Metrics from Wiley. This review and recommendation is based upon the quality of the material -- and not on how I obtained it.]