Analytics & TestingSocial Media & Influencer Marketing

Social Media Measurement is a Must!

Social Media Measurement

There’s a lot of discussion about social media (including blogging) and whether or not the results should be measured and how.

Some examples of social media measurement include calls to action on a corporate blog, improvements (or reductions) in customer satisfaction, or increased client retention.

Opponents of social media measurement sometimes believe that measurement is a path to destruction or at least manipulation. They believe that businesses should be executing communication strategies with customers and prospects because it’s the right thing to do. I agree that it’s the right thing to do… and we should measure social media to prove it’s the right thing to do!

The risk of measurement, of course, is measuring inadequately or basing conclusions on incomplete data. If you graph 2 variables and you find a correlation, that does not necessarily provide irrefutable evidence that there is one. There could be another environmental variable that is much stronger that is a factor that you’re simply missing.

Proponents of measuring social media marketing strategies often dismiss the human element of social media, and simply see it as a new medium to tackle and manipulate. I don’t agree with this. I believe it’s another medium to fully leverage within a company’s arsenal of tools to market their products to those who need or want them.

When I read this post to forget social media measurement I commented, in essence, that his argument was a moot point. Businesses do not care what my opinion or your opinion is regarding social media measurement… they’re going to measure regardless.

Measuring social media’s impact is difficult, but it’s not impossible. I think much of the argument comes from the fact that measuring the impact requires so much hard work. Ensuring every visitor is tracked and what their actions were in respect to your product and service isn’t an easy task… so it’s my opinion that many of the gurus of social media either don’t understand how, don’t understand why, or are simply too lazy.

They don’t want to correlate stock prices, customer satisfaction, overall product opinion and temperament, inbound leads, engagement value, close ratio, and human resource cost for you… it’s easier to simply talk about how many Likes you got, comments, or mentions on other sites. Good luck on engaging a company with a substantial marketing budget in a comprehensive social media strategy without telling them how to measure its success in dollars and cents.

We must measure. We must prove. We must improve.

Applying goals and measures to Social Media doesn’t mean that you need to abandon all of the other impactful qualities of businesses utilizing social mediums to enhance business results. Improving communication with clients and prospects, providing a path for engagement, propelling your company’s authority in its space, finding influencers and allowing them to spread the word… all of these advantages don’t have to be dismissed. You can have the best of both worlds.

I have incredible trust in the natural tendencies of social media to root out companies that will attempt to manipulate these fantastic mediums. Measurement won’t simply provide companies with an understanding of the return on investment in social media, measurement will also provide companies with the evidence that truth and transparency will prevail. The power is in the numbers. I also trust that marketing technology will continue to improve so that measuring these new communication mediums becomes easier and more accurate.

One afterthought, just because you prove social media as a viable marketing strategy still doesn’t mean that companies will flock to it. Companies are tough ships to turn! We often talk companies to bite off a piece at a time, prove the results, and then work to grow their program. Change is difficult and takes time.

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the founder of the Martech Zone and a recognized expert on digital transformation. Douglas has helped start several successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to launch his own platforms and services. He's a co-founder of Highbridge, a digital transformation consulting firm. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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  1. I might have worded the post the wrong way. You know I have that issue sometimes. ha. The whole point of the post was to ask if we were pursuing the right TYPE of measurement not necessarily to ignore measurement in and of itself.

    If we can measure something as intangible as branding and design… it is also possible for us to measure social media as a form of brand development. I agree that companies are a tough ship to turn. Radio has been a proven marketing model for years and it is still hard to sell some people on the tool.

    It has nothing to do with the amount of work it takes to measure the tool. You should know that by now. It has everything to do with what tools to use.

    I feel we are all trying to prove systems and tools right now.

    1. It’s definitely the challenge – especially as our clients see their budgets getting micro-managed and cut left and right. I’m looking forward to the day when we have some algorithms and out-of-the-box tools in our toolbox for measuring the impact of transparency and openness!

      Until then, let’s keep sharing our findings!

      Thanks Kyle!

  2. The questions are, of course, what’s being measured and what tools are utilized — how is any user participation captured. It’s a given that web analytics programs will capture and indicate referral traffic. Better ones enable following any referred visitors’ subsequent click throughs on the site and, hopefully, their participation in a success event.

    Yet, much of what we’d hope would enable better recording and contribute to increasing pagerank such as a search engine’s indexing of backlinks isn’t present in most social media site’s CMS.

    For example, a general robot command is “index, follow”, yet, this is not specified on Twitter. If we view the code for my RT referencing this blog entry:

    RT @kyleplacy Starting a good thread on your RT @douglaskarr post "Social Media Measurement is a Must!" #webanalytics

    one sees that bots are instructed rel=”nofollow”. This is also true for the “More Info URL” link in a Tweeter sidebar.

    Web http://www.pagera...

    Again, a search engine is instructed not to follow the link.

    So much for backlinks.

  3. Couldn’t agree more! Measurement is crucial to making our industry a success. Most people or companies rarely do something because it is the “right thing to do”. There is usually some form of motivation that benefits us. Measurement validates that motivation and allows us to leverage potential but understanding impact.

  4. Thanks for the pingback on my article about Measuring Social Media. I completely agree with this! I am surprised at the reluctance to measure social media. In order to fully engage with customers I think it is necessary, especially if a company wants to market their products to people who want and need them. Measuring a social media campaign is a great way to connect with customers and figure out what areas and channels they are using to talk about the company or product.

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