If you do Social Media you know it’s not the numbers that count and that what you do on a daily basis will take time to come to fruition. So how do we get away from the numbers when the Board want to see growth, the CEO requires an ROI and your boss wants to measure your performance?
What else can you do to take numbers out of the equation? Realise that it’s not the numbers that are the problem just which ones.
If we go back to the early days of the web every one was talking about Hits and Page Views. Early on counting Hits wasn’t too much of an issue until you started adding more elements to a web page. A Hit is registered by every element that is downloaded from a page. When those pages consisted of just text, generally, a Hit was a good enough measure. Now web pages are much more complicated, with many files being downloaded just to display a single page. Each file leads to a Hit, it wouldn’t be unusual for a single web page nowadays to register 50 or more Hits.
From Hits we many moved to Page Views, but again the problem comes from the fact that people getting lost on your site or reloading a page register many Page Views making it an unreliable gauge of how well your web site is performing.
The same is true in Social Media. The number of followers is not a true indication of your success in the social space, purely an indication that more people are following you. A lot of your success in social will come down to sentiment and attitude towards your brand. This is much more difficult to measure and requires you to “take a view”. Tools do exist to help measure your performance socially but even the best of these are rudimentary measuring sticks. Radian 6 being the market leader, with Raven Tools a more affordable equivalent.
Ultimately if you use social media well, you will see increased sales. It won’t necessarily send more visitors directly to your store, on or off-line, but will provide a positive uplift.
As with all analysis your investment should be largely in the cost of people to analyse the data with only a minor percentage being spent on the tools.
Very much like the early days of the web, and we are only talking 10-15 years ago here, social is only a few years old, expecting to have all the answers and analysis this early on would be a fools paradise. What we can do is get involved, watch and learn from those that seem to be doing it well. Monitor the early adopters, the popular bloggers and online marketeers. Listen to Agencies with caution, do not believe the hype and do believe there are no quick routes to success.
After all Social Media by it’s very name indicates you need to be social, that means engagement, that means conversation not necessarily clicks and downloads.
How are you measuring you success?