Posted by Brittany Lett on Thu, Nov 29 2012

All Posts by Brittany Lett

Why is it so difficult to measure social media?

Monitoring and measuring social media is at the forefront of most marketing and communication professionals’ minds these days. With so many channels and endless information, trying to figure out metrics and KPI’s can be quite a daunting task. Many still rely on simple numbers, (i.e. number of followers, number of ‘likes’, etc.) but measurement experts will tell you this isn’t enough…

Resizing Social Media

Social media is about engagement. Therefore, it’s imperative that metrics try and measure this, but how? What are the golden metrics for measuring social media?

A recent article in Brand Republic and PRWeek by Steve Richards gives a great overview of the current situation and outlines six main points about the difficulties in developing social media metrics.

  1. Lack of standard definitions: Words like ‘engagement’ and ‘influence’ are thrown around with different connotations causing confusion from one organization to the next. Businesses, as a whole, need to define what ‘social’ means to them in order to measure it in an effective and meaningful way.
  2. Information overload: With so much data available it’s hard to process and make sense of it all. There’s a need for ‘data architects’ or people that analyse information and provide insight in to how social engagement is actually helping the business.
  3. Dangers of micrometrics:  Gateway metrics such as Facebook ‘likes’ and follower counts are easy to measure but don’t provide any insight in to customer or influencer engagement. These metrics are necessary but should only be considered the first step in measuring actual engagement.
  4. Understanding the journey: Trying to figure out how social engagement impacts the bottom line is yet to be determined, but firms are constantly trying. Richards suggests breaking engagement in to pieces, looking at key business drivers and seeing how social impacts these specific components. This will help the business see value and in time, help others appreciate what social media brings to the company.
  5. Responsibility: Who should engage: PR, marketing or key business areas? In time, business areas will engage on social channels, but for now marketing and PR departments fight over who should engage and act as the voice of the company. Richards rightly suggests that the two need to work together and eliminate silos to achieve the best possible result.
  6. Good enough metrics? People continue to use long-standing metrics to measure social media because that’s what they know and more importantly, what their bosses buy-in to. These metrics are losing value because they show awareness rather than engagement. Awareness is a start but won’t increase the prominence of social within organizations.

Social media measurement is sophisticated; partly because there are no standard definitions and partly because each organization has different goals.

What can you do? Understand your business’ goals and then match your metrics to show maximum impact.

To read the full article, click here and don’t forget to download the full whitepaper.

Analysis, Measurement, Social Media,
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