Social media measurement has been the big topic of debates since marketers started warming up to the fact that maybe consumers can influence other consumers. Like any media, everyone figured even social media needs some measure to convince everyone that it is worth the time and money being spent.
There are plenty of tools available with each having a better rating than the previous one. However the fundamental purpose is still not being served. No Mans blog puts better light on this matter and you should read his views.
In my opinion, social media analytics need to be a little social. Put in a bit of human involvement in it than just technology and algorithms. Especially when measuring sentiments and influence, factors that aren’t quite number or rank driven always. So for instance, how about a brand manager deciding his set of influencers for a brand and asking these tools to track their tweets, blogs, status, etc. This compared to generic Twitter or Blog influence measurement. The socialness is in deciding the network for the brand, just like your and mine and how much of an influence it plays.
Another important point here is the whole concept of measurement. Why are we measuring social media and a brands performance on it?
It seems more than the brand it is social media agencies that need these tools to justify their job. Measurement is usually required to judge how much of an investment in terms of time and money ..that is if at all, does a medium warrant. Now when we say that it is imperative for brands to use social media (and that’s been proven quite conclusively over the last 2 years), where does the need for measurement arise.
So social media shouldn’t be measured..right? Wrong, it needs to. The fact is you can’t improve unless you measure. If social media is imperative, it is also imperative that they use it right. And using it right essentially would mean how many people are you getting to talk about you (the brand) and making them talk good. And the business impact that’s a fall out of these conversations is a probable candidate to measure. The point in these cryptic thought is you need to measure what you invest in a media and not the media itself.
So maybe the wrong metrics are being measured. Sentiment analysis for instance need not necessarily just be a social media measurement. As far as I am aware, Apple doesn’t invest a whole lot into social media, however, a positive sentiment towars the brand is felt on a general scale and it doesn’t matter if it stands at 75% or 85%. There is no investment being made in these conversations by the brand, so should it be measuring them? Let’s say a highly unpoular ad campaign is launched, do we measure the eyeballs it generated or the negative buzz it created?
What metric should be measured then?
We should first analyse the investments in terms of time, money and effort before deciding the metrics.
- Perhaps a brand’s initiatives on social media needs to be measured or that of a brand manager’s time spent or for that matter an agency’s. More than how many responses a certain content generates, we need to look at how many did brand respond to.
- How many new opportunitiies of conversatiosn did you generate compared to existing conversations. How many of a pre determined influence set did you get to talk about your product.
- And on the whole how many new points (nodes like fan pages, or forum threads, or twitter hashtags) of conversation did a brand or its custodian create that will eventually add value to a product. This value can be in the form of beter prduct development, providing better service, creating a new sales channel , etc.
Having half million fans is not important because there are half million fans on your FB page. They are important because it gives you 500,000 opportunities to create an instance of a buzz which can then spread virally through a network of 400 million. So while half a milion is an impressive number it amounts to nothing until you create opportunities of conversations with them. These opportuniites are the ones that need a measure.
And not just plain oportunities, how many of these half million fans you created are likely to give you the highest reach among the 300 million and growing base that you want to tap in to. Meaning, how influential or wide is your fans’ connections. And this is just Facebook, as we look at other number specific social media activity it provides a wider spectrum of debate.
While a lot of the current crop of tools are awesome listening tools, listening is only one half of the whole bit. The important point is what you did with the data that you gathered, and how can you initiate a lot many more conversations about your brand. How effective is the community you have built and how influential is it. A good example of this is the Twitter community 2 years back, Wordpress 3 years back, Apple as always. And we need dashboards that measure this performance around your brand. Measure the social in social media than the media in it. And I hope that’s where Social Media Measurement tools are headed to.
Do you think this is a valid point? Or have I missed the mark with analysing social media tools?
About Author: Maneesh is the founder of Smursh Digital Agency.