The inspiration for the title of this post came from a talk that my friend Kami Huyse, COO of Zoetica, gave to the PRSA – Digital Impact conference NYC in May 2010. While an amusement park like Sea World could measure success by coaster rides, you may have something different in mind for your business and the metrics of success you have. I was part of a panel measuring results: Guide to Google Analytics, Affiliate Metrics and more at the recent Affcon 2010 Summit with Wade Sisson and Brad Geddes. My discussion was on social media analytics, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts.
Jeremiah Owyang defined social analytics as “The practice of being able to understand customers and predict them using data from the social Web.” Shel Israel wrote in a post on Global Neighborhoods, “There is great danger in measuring the wrong things.”
Today’s weblogs and website technology gives us an enormous amount of data, and as Jim Sterne Analytics Guru says in his book “Social Media Metrics: How to Measure and Optimize Your Marketing Investment” - “Don’t be data rich, insight poor.” His book is a great read on social analytics.
My example of asking the right questions was a cab ride from the Ft. Lauderdale airport to the Fairmont where AffCon was held. We can get all the data we want on the speed at which the cab traveled, how nay gallons of fuel were used, how many left turns were made and so on. If we took all this data and asked a analyst to give us a measurement, but did not provide any context on business goals and value, we would probably get a summary such as, “The cab’s average speed was 57mph” when what you really wanted to know was either how long it took to get from the airport to the hotel or how much the cab ride cost–depending on whether your goal was measuring travel time or expenses.
1. Identify Goals
When you are evangelizing social media to your company it is definitely useful to show alignment with your company’s overall goals. What are your objectives in social media ?
- Make friends?
- Influence people?
- Increase sales/revenue?
- Change public opinion of a product/company?
- Cut customer service cost?
- Conduct research at a lower cost?
- Get better search results, i.e rank for targeted keyword terms?
Read Amber Naslund’s article, “How to Create Measurable Objectives,” for ideas on other things you may want to measure.
2. Agree on Social Analytics Measurement KPIs
Once you have your goals set, your team can agree on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) These could be :
- Buzz and engagement
- Conversation about your brand and products
- Audience Building
- People reading your content, following you, Liking you or bookmarking you
- Advocates and Ambassadors
- Retweets, reviews, recommendations, testimonials
- Customer Satisfaction
- Engagements and results, time to resolve
- Product improvements, new ideas
If you are a brand with a lot of raving fans you may even decide to track the number of folks who have tattooed your brand on themselves!
3. Identify Tools to Use for Measurement
- Google Alerts
- Scout labs
- Feedburner Stats
- Twitter followers
- Facebook Fans
- Page views
- Google Webmaster tools
- Google insights
- Google trends
4. Track Results
Where did the sale/lead come from?
- Facebook status
- Blog post directly
- Blog post shared or bookmarked
- Blog post by your customer evangelists/fans
- Leads generated through offline events
- Referral traffic from your blog to website
When you are going into present your results , remember everyone in the room will be connecting the dots to figure out out this will help them in their business. If you are a small business owner, you know very well how this will connect to your goal of increased customer engagement and service.
One of the small businesses I speak to regularly is Dr. Alan Glazier, CEO of Shady Grove Eye and Vision, and his measurement is the climb in patient retention since he started using more social media tools and reduced some of his traditional marketing expenses.
Chef Vinod of Indique Heights, a favorite restaurant of mine, says his blog, K.N. Vinod, has brought in comments from customers and more restaurant reviews. Another restaurateur, Kumar Iyer of Rangoli Restaurant in South Riding, Virginia, has used social media to organize events, and finds event participation is a great measurement.
Katie Paine has a convenient social media measurement checklist and PR Measurement Blog for you to use. There are also books that I have read where examples of success are plenty – Shel Israel’s Naked Conversation and Twitterville.
Remember your goals and measurement may change. Don’t be afraid to adjust tools and methods as needed. As the Turkish proverb says, “No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back.”
The following resources can help you learn more about measuring your social media results:
How are you planning your social analytics strategy?