Taking measure of your social media results

Tape_MeasureThe biggest challenge of social media marketing is figuring out if it really delivers value for the effort. Looking across articles, forums and the few books on the topic yields lots of advice on tracking likes, retweets and followers, but what do those metrics matter if companies aren’t turning campaigns into leads and revenue?

Part art, part science

Part of the challenge of measuring comes from the fact that social media isn’t very formulaic. The reason it can’t be formulaic stems from the fact that social media marketing is in constant evolution. What works today won’t work tomorrow, and so on. That doesn’t mean there can’t be a process. Not at all. It means that the process needs to allow for creativity and to focus on excellent content and adjustments. Measurement of clicks, time on page, shares and other factors gives a good idea of what’s reaching people.

But it doesn’t get to the heart of what matters.

Challenge of email

Some might suggest email as tried and true. For many, adding to the database of relevant email addresses is a honorable goal, but with the decline of email effectiveness, there are questions about the future value of having more of a declining currency. Email has another known challenge that the more times we hit a segmented list hoping to produce leads, the less effective it becomes. Keep in mind we’re two years past the point where Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg declared email dead. If we accept this, we have to look beyond email to other means of measurement.

With email suspect as a tool for the future, there needs to be something that rises to meet email’s decline.

Conversion journey

Getting to the big number, leads, means following those early metrics through the customer’s path from above the funnel to the lower funnel as qualified leads. There are great web analytics tools on the market that show the entire journey through each interaction point. Without having a clear picture of the digital journey, the value of a campaign and its assets is anecdotal at best.

Creating that journey takes a level of planning and execution that can only be defined by distinct social marketing activities carried out in specific ways. In other words, process. And there are really two processes involved with distinct beginnings and ends. The first is the planning of goals, assets, messaging, distribution and measurement. The second process is the execution of that first set of activities in an operational setting that means execution, measurement and adjustment.

When you have processes that drive the customer digital journey, determining the work effort and duration allows the return on social marketing investment to be calculated. Without this understanding, knowing what to do less, what to tweak and where to double down will be impossible.


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Categories: Marketing, Social / Collaboration

Author:Chris Taylor

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing. There's no end to what we can change and improve. I wear myself out...

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3 Comments on “Taking measure of your social media results”

  1. January 21, 2013 at 1:29 am #

    It is absolutely true and spot on that there has to be a way to determine the effort being put into social media that goes beyond likes on the page. These “likes” “shares” and “retweets” are helpful in validating whatever content that is being put out and it is nice to have your story retweeted, but you have to be able to dig deeper.

    The difference between what I will call regular social media for the everyday user and social marketing is the regular user can be a bystander never commenting, liking, or doing any kind of active engagement in these forums. They can people watch – so to speak – over the internet and never leave a trace that they were there and this is perfectly acceptable. However, social marketing seems to take on a little more of a brute force approach that still requires quality content to be distributed, but distributed far and wide. You never know what passive people watcher you might convert into a lead, but that has to be measured in some way.

    For the average Facebook user, having friends “like” their witty status is enough. The user immediately receives the recognition they were looking for and can clearly measure their success. 15 Likes – the post was a success. No likes and you will have to be wittier next time. In the world of social marketing this is completely different. A story or blog that is never liked once could be the starting point to a lead by some “passive internet people watcher.” A story that is reshared 100 times could have just been interesting. It is going to take a deep understanding of the process to draw a line between content and a lead. Nonetheless, a passive social marketer will watch potential leads “Like” the content of his/her competitor.

  2. January 21, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    I think the challenge is not new; it is perhaps exacerbated now that there are so many more channels through which a customer may engage an organization mapping back the true trigger that had them engage is harder.

    Thought I would also share a little parody on the subject as well:


  1. 4 reasons you are losing followers | Successful Workplace - January 23, 2013

    […] social contract matters enormously because email is on the decline. Everyone but the CRM manager agrees that the effectiveness of sending unsolicited information and […]

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