Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Social Media Reporting: What you should be measuring

Social Media Measurement

How do you measure your social media goals?

Do you measure them at all? 

You should be, because your competitors probably are. It's important because if you ever want to become a market leader in your given field - whether it's a B2B crane business, or a radio station, you need to know if you are growing, and being successful at what you do.

But first things first. You cannot become a market leader IN social media. So stop chasing the big numbers because they are sexy. Stop coveting the followings of Nike, Lady Gaga and Barack Obama - the realistic numbers may be much, much smaller for you, but they can be as effective in terms of scale. I could show you a page or account with sixty or seventy members which has a better engagement rate (fans vs % of fans talking about that brand) than any of the giant brands mentioned above.

But those small numbers aren't very sexy, are they? Well, there's a reason for that: numbers aren't sexy, silly. Stop focusing on the numbers, and focus on how social can help you achieve your business goals.

These are the questions that you should be asking yourself when it comes to finding out what to measure on a social platform. I've dropped a few handy prompts in to get you thinking. A full-blown social strategy will take time and effort - and probably a whole book to explain the nuances of. But I hope these questions will start to get you thinking about what to measure and benchmark to enable you to grow.

Social measurement questions: 

  1. What would you classify as a successful business in your field?
  2. What are your business goals?
  3. How can social media help you achieve those goals?

    REMEMBER: Social media is first and foremost a communication platform. One that you use to communicate with friends, family and people that you share interests with on a daily basis. You're going to want to talk to your customers, aren't you? Well, here's your opportunity!

    Conversations exist for a number of reasons, but never forget that there is a transactional action inherent in all of them. But to increase the likelihood of the transaction that you want to take place happening, you must first build your influence with that person. Think of it like this: if a stranger asked me to empty their dishwasher, I'd tell them to do one. On the other hand, if my girlfriend, mum, dad or nan asked me to, I'd do it in a shot - because I have a connection with them. As a brand, you are never going to have that sort of affinity with your audience - but it still doesn't stop you from having a positive connection with them. Work towards that.

  4. Which top level stats should I be measuring?

    Conversation and conversion. Initially conversation. Retweets, @replies, comments, likes (of your content, not simply your page) and +1's on the relevant platforms

    The amount that you talk with your audience is incredibly important when you first start out. You can hand out flyers, put a sticker up on your door or send out a mail-out pointing them towards your social site. But that all means nothing if once they get there it's just an empty space. Invest some time and energy into making your social spaces as rich as you would do your own surroundings. It can make the difference between somebody remembering your brand as one that gives a shit, or one that does.

  5. What qualifies as success?

    Remember, this is where the bottom line of your business comes in. If you run a coffee shop, are you noticing the same faces coming back in day after day to order? Are they the people who you are reaching out to with social?

    If you are an eCommerce platform or site, how many of your referrals are coming through to your site from social sources? And how long are these users spending on your site?

    I've carried out research across core brand websites in my business (Real Radio, Smooth Radio and Real Radio XS), and I found that whilst our social referrals are traditionally lower than standard direct links or SEO activity, they are of a higher value. In fact, they visit twice as many pages, and spend twice as long on the site per visit. So our social audience are some our most loyal visitors and listeners. We value them highly, as you should with your special customers.

    If you are a B2B business selling cranes - then how many trade journalists are writing about you? How many people are talking about relevant subjects to your business on your LinkedIn group? Just because you are in the construction industry doesn't mean that you don't have advocates. Be an authority, empower your advocates, because in the world of B2B more now than ever, a small hat-tip in the right direction can make all the difference.
So, to sum all of these questions up, if you would really like to know what you should start with measuring socially with your business, I would recommend the following:

1. Conversation

2. Reach

3. Referrals

4. Impact on business goals

But most importantly of all, when you are sat around having a conversation with this community you have fostered, remember that for all of the measurements that you are taking and the money you could be making, that these are the people that matter. Your advocates on social matter.

Because they are special. They are valuable. They are what is keeping the lights on where you work. And don't you forget it.

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