Measuring Social Media is a bone of contention for many

Perhaps the difference of opinions in how to measure Social Media boils down to our background.  All business majors are taught the importance of quantifying your marketing efforts through measurements such as ROI  in order to economically justify the effectiveness of these efforts.  Then along comes Social Media Marketing and suddenly business and marketing professionals are forced to delve deep within the reserves of our brain to access all that we absorbed while sitting through economics, finance, marketing and statistics classes and apply this knowledge to quantify social interactions.  That’s a tall order if you ask me.  “A tall order” – hold that thought…


Doesn’t part of the whole “college experience” involve acquiring skills other than those defined as purely academic?  What about the all-important Social Skills?  Just because you get a 1600 on your SAT (2400 now), does this mean that you will become an instant success upon leaving college and entering the real world?  Or course not.  But the SAT doesn’t measure social skills.

In Measuring Social Media, Ask Yourself How Do You Define Success?

Expectations for Social Media measurement are based on how one measures success

Is an overnight success that fizzles out as quickly as it comes into being considered a true success, or does success entail years of hard work and focus to be a success?  Is financial achievement in and of itself the only indicator of a business’ success? Or is a solid economic strategy combined with a committed value system the defining measure of success?  My vote is for the latter.

I don’t doubt that there is a way to measure Social Media effectiveness of tools including blogs, reviews, recommendations, photo galleries, forums or social media networks such as Twitter or Facebook.  Social Media metrics are still in their development stages partly because Social Media tools themselves are still relatively new so the long-term effectiveness of them simply hasn’t been computed.

Bu there is another reason why Social Media is difficult to measure.  The basis of Social Media is not financial, it is social!  But I believe Social Media has the potential to drive sales.  Here’s why…

Building long-term trust and brand loyalty is a solid driver of sales and personal interactions through Social Media tools support this mission.

In other words, being able to offer a superior, more fulfilling experience to your consumers by offering them Social Media tools to connect with you and each other makes shopping or using your service more fun!  And it keeps them coming back for more.  Once you define your marketing goals whether they be increasing sales, increasing awareness or simply listening to your consumers, you will be ready to decide which Social Media tools to use…and how to start measuring them.

Social Media Measurement Tools

Here are some factors to consider when measuring your site’s success using Social Media tools:

  • Consumption – How many viewers or fans do you have? Who are they? Where are they from? What content is most popular? Standard web analytical tools can measure these tools on a blog for instance.
  • Contribution – How many viewers are leaving comments or reviews? There tends to be more consumers than contributors, however supporting interaction by responding to comments is a good policy to encourage greater contribution.
  • Return on content – In trying to integrate social media into business goals, are you looking for a direct return on your site’s content? Perhaps you could consider the potential to lower support costs or advertising costs by having peers interact with each other by answering each other questions or offering positive feedback to each other about your product?
  • Pageviews – If people view many of your site’s pages, is this necessarily a good thing? It could be, but it could also mean that viewers have difficulty navigating your site to find what they are searching for. Therefore it’s also necessary to consider the amount of time that viewers spend on your site.
  • Share and Enjoy – There are various social media buttons that can be installed to allow tracking of how many viewers are booking your content with sites like Del.icio.ous, Digg or Stumbleupon. You may also track who is emailing your post through using a WordPress blog for example.
  • RSS Feed Subscription – How many visitors are subscribing to your RSS feeds?
  • Social Network metrics – Many social network sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are developing their own metrics to be able to quantify the effectiveness of these Social Media tools.
  • Conversions – Creating a contact submission form or a purchase confirmation page for e-commerce sites allows you to track conversion data, so you can better see how your social media efforts are converting into sales.

You can also check out our Social Media ROI calculator to help you get started. Hopefully these Social Media measurement points will encourage or enhance your social media efforts and their potential to lead to long-term success.

The fact is that more and more consumers are using the internet as their first resource to research items and subsequently make purchases.

By offering a better shopping or research experience, your site is increasing its brand loyalty.  It is also keeping consistent with your organization’s other marketing efforts.  Social media is a work in progress.  It continues to grow and flourish building communities of people who like what you like.  And if you’ve ever done sales, you know that people buy from people they like.  And guess what, it’s personal!  So if you want to start selling, start getting personal and engaging your audience through Social Media Marketing.

This entry was posted on Friday, July 10, 2009 and is filed under Social Media in Marketing.

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