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Metrics That Matter

August 8, 2011 | By | One Comment

“Social media holds the promise of many new opportunities for promoting our businesses, acquiring new product ideas, and improving customer service. But it also changes fast,   has a lot of moving parts, and there are many ways to be analyzed and measured. The path to the ‘bottom line’ doesn’t seem as straightforward and direct in social media as it did in more established sales and marketing practices.” – Author, Michael F. Lewis

We receive so much statistical data and so many metrics from the internet, that without guidance it can be almost impossible to decipher what we are seeing.  Social Media Analytics “Experts” would have you believe that the new metrics they have introduced are the statistics that will bring your business to the next level.  In reality these metrics are fabricated to promote and validate their services, having little bearing on success.  So what metrics are important?

Revenue or ROI will always be very important to executives and other business leaders.  The difficult part about this is that if every company has a different digital and social business plan; meaning each will have a different way of calculating ROI and Revenue from their digital efforts.

“To measure most effectively, leaders need to align active listening with strategic goals and then calibrate those goals with paid media (the media you buy), earned media efforts (the attention generated by others), and site traffic. All media activities can then be mapped to near-term, midterm, and long-term goals.” – Michael F. Lewis, Author Social Media Leadership Book

One of the most important statistics is Reach; how far content (e.g., a topic, subject, or meme) spreads across the totality of the Internet. Reach emphasizes the importance of monitoring conversations about your brand across everything from Forbes to Google+, because each channel is connected to—and can influence users on—every other channel. You can figure out your reach by monitoring sharing, comments, and the traffic that was driven by a certain action or activity.

Another important metric is Velocity, or the speed at which a conversation moves across the Internet. Velocity can be used to track whether a hot-button issue is brewing (like a great deal, a product release, or a pricing or service issue), whether marketing efforts are working, how quickly a product, service, or marketing message is adopted or shared; and, most importantly, crisis communications or management. The voice of the consumer is extremely powerful and can never be overlooked.

Once you have identified your Reach and Velocity you can begin working on ways to improve your business online. Consumers and influencers will be very honest and tell you “what needs to be fixed” or “what they really enjoyed” about your product or service. These metrics become your research and development as well as customer service or satisfaction measurements.  Once you have compiled the correct metrics you can plan, execute, and grow your brand efficiently online!

Pre-Order your copy of Social Media Leadership: How to Get Off the Bench and Into the Game now!

Michael F. Lewis II is a Social Media Consultant and Marketing Analyst for Social Strategy1.  He contributes several blogs weekly to the SS1 site.  Connect with Michael on Twitter via @mlewii.

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