Social Analytics, Metrics, and Measurement
The previous chapters have provided a basis for understanding how social media and Web 2.0 technologies are reshaping the relationship between Marketing, where the promise is created, and Operations, where the promise is kept. Building on the basics of managing conversations through decided behavior rather than attempts at control, this chapter presents the fundamentals of actual measurement.
Measurement is critical to building social media acceptance within an organization beyond the marketing department. Facebook pages and Twitter profiles are useful as marketing extensions, no doubt about it. However, at this point in the book it is my hope that the really big levers of social technology (reshaping products and services; creating a robust, two-way, collaborative relationship with customers; and using what is learned throughout your organization) are starting to become apparent.
What should be clear at this point is that without meaningful and quantitative measurement you stand essentially no chance of ever seeing social media and Web 2.0 technologies adopted through your organization. Why not, and why the central role for metrics?
When your core customer—take the “advocate Mom,” for example—has an application like the Good Guide and scans your product with her iPhone, comparing your company’s carbon footprint and hiring practices with your competitor’s, what will your marketing program do to ensure that your brand wins in this type of comparison?
Without the coordinated, committed help of the entire organization you stand no chance of winning, and without quantitative measurement—the universal language throughout most organizations—you’ll face an essentially undoable job in trying to rally your larger team to understand why their participation—beyond marketing—is essential.
The New Media Sings the Old Media
Social media analytics is built around many of the basic practices applied to traditional media—who’s talking, what are they saying—now applied to the (digital) conversations happening on the Social Web. So what’s different? For starters, because social media is defined in some way as leveraging the massively scalable publishing capabilities afforded to each Social Web participant—in simple terms, recognizing that it is easy for reasonably well-connected people to command a reach that rivals TV within local markets or to reach more accurately defined niches and social circles.
The Need to Measure More
The significance of the lack of a formal measurement mindset around social media becomes clear when you consider that too many professionals using social media in business do not measure its effectiveness. A 2009 eMarketer study found that 16 percent of the professionals it surveyed measured the effectiveness of their social media programs. The other 84 percent? It’s unclear why they are even doing the work they are doing, and likely less clear to their CFO that they should be doing it at all. Without a measurement program, social media marketing and its application to business is at best an experiment; at worst, it’s a costly diversion.
In traditional PR in particular, there is an established practice of identifying and developing relationships with key journalists and industry experts. These media connections are useful, for example, when rolling out a new product. By communicating in advance with these contacts, you can seed the general market awareness with comments from these individuals as they begin writing about your product launch. Sometimes this is done confidentially—for example, you may “embargo” a press release when you want your closest contacts to have this information and be aware of what is coming but not actually talk about it before a certain date.