Better metrics for social media

In 2015, virtually all companies have an online presence, from the Fortune 500 down to the local dry cleaner. Companies encourage customers to like, follow, share – anything to show engagement. But does that really work?

According to Charlie Southwell, most companies aren’t putting enough thought into their social content. He points to an article on Marketing Week reporting that nearly half of Chief Marketing Officers claim that social media has a “below average” impact on profitability. So where is the disconnect?

It’s not a numbers game

In 2016, we can buy thousands of Twitter followers, YouTube views, or website views for the price of a fancy coffee. But it won’t change your business. Charlie points out that you would get more business impact by taking the money you budget for social and throwing it off the roof. There’s even a name for it: the MoR (Money off Roof) Test. The premise is that the excitement of seeing an executive standing on a roof, throwing money at passersby, would generate more viral excitement than most social media content.

Productive uses of social media

There are six main uses for social media in business, and you need to plan your social media strategy with all six pillars in mind. To summarise Charlie’s points:

  • HR – social content can be used to attract talent, onboard staff, and keep them engaged, both while employed and as alumni.
  • PR, marketing, and advertising – social content can help with lowering the cost of marketing, acquisition, and customer retention.
  • Sales – the use of social content here is embodied by FRY: Frequency of purchase, more customer Reach, and Yield of average transaction.
  • Customer service – Fielding and resolving customer problems has become one of the top uses for social media.
  • Business intelligence – Combine any of the number of measurement and analytics tools in the market to draw some powerful conclusions about how business is perceived and how to proceed.
  • Internal communications – Social tools help your teams collaborate, and reduce down time spent on fruitless information chases.

Charlie provided a number of example objectives that could be used as a starting point, and emphasised that each organisation will have unique objectives. Those objectives should be platform agnostic, as platforms come and go (remember MySpace?). Each platform and channel has its own idiosyncrasies, and the timeline for seeing return on your investment will vary. You don’t have to be Einstein to measure social media, Charlie reminds us, but you do have to engage in some rigorous planning that starts with business objectives.

Many thanks to Charlie Southwell.

Twitter @charliesaidthat



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