Is counting clicks the answer?
I’m often asked how I measure social media for business, which is a fair question. But it’s one I often answer with, “how did you measure the reach of that billboard you paid someone to put up at the local hockey arena?”
In a country where the average person faces more than 400 advertisements daily, the modern marketer’s ultimate challenge is actually making a message sticky – the one they remember? It might be hard to measure the reach of that billboard, but social media is different story.
Consumers today know what they want long before they ever step into a store. They’re heavy researchers and they want to talk to know the brands they’re interested in – intimately. And they often find those brands by asking their friends – on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…
“Understanding a buyer is the first step to understanding their buying patterns,” said Jennifer Vlahavas, Senior Director, ComScore Inc. “We need to look at how their online behavior leads to their offline buying patterns to understand what they want and how we can deliver it.”
Measurement #1 – Track your Facebook likes (or Twitter follows) – is the number going up, down or flat lining? Every conversation you engage in has the potential to carry your message to another.
Growing a community of friends, customers and fans
When people “like” or “follow” brands on social media, they’re giving that brand permission to join an inner circle. It’s called permission marketing because you’re no longer interrupting a TV show or a song. You’re an invited guest into the conversation.
Measurement #2 – Track likes vs. unlikes (follows vs. unfollows). If you lose followers faster than you gain them, you’re doing something wrong.
- Sniff out your community. Keyword research will help you sniff out conversations that matter to your brand.
- Listen. Take time to understand if they’re mostly happy or if it’s a public lynching of your brand.
- Act. Use your keywords to help your users find you easier, but remember you’re dealing with human feelings. People want to talk to other people – not corporations – and sometimes chatting about what you had for lunch is the perfect icebreaker.
- Archive. Keeping track of your conversations will help you understand your effectiveness and show you when/if you need to tweak your approach.
Permission marketing code of ethics
Social media communities are happy to share your good news with their friends and families – but it comes with an unwritten agreement.
Measurement #3 – Record complaints and kudos and act on them quickly. Complaints signify that your community is listening when you make a promise.
- They control the like button. The moment your messages become annoying, corporate and too markety is the moment the like button becomes an unlike button.
- Their likes are non-transferable. Each like represents a live person and cannot be bought.
- They expect regular, gentle attempts at conversation but don’t expect engagement every time.
- When you’re given permission to follow-up, it’s a delicate trust. Not following up can signal that you’re not serious about your online community – which can devastate your online reputation.
- Respect your people. You need them, but they may or may not need your product. Recognize that you’re here to be of service, not the other way around.
Measurement #4 – Are people visiting your website after they chat with you on social media? If your analytics fail to show traffic from your social media channels, what are you doing (or not doing) that makes people think visiting your website is a waste of time?
Whether you call this new way of communicating permission marketing, social media marketing or social networking marketing, it’s effective and demanding in equal measures.
Measurement #5 – Are you doing what you set out to do? Whether it’s better customer service, increased sales or brand awareness, is your ROI paying off? If you’re not moving the dial on those goals, what do you need to change?
If you’re struggling with the A,B,C’s of social media, I’ll be speaking at three different venues at the World Market Center in Las Vegas in January. I’d love to show you the behind the scenes work that can make your social media strategy a success.