Recent research suggests that as much as 31% of businesses that classify themselves as “effective users of social media” do not make use of analytics tools to either guide their work or measure the effectiveness of their efforts, writes Landi Groenewald.
An appalling statistic to say the least, but whilst the debate rages on as to whether such a thing as ROI in social media exists, let’s have a look at some basic means of analysing these efforts.
Following the more traditional model of quantifying your marketing communication efforts online, hard metrics require putting elements in place that track the customary return – revenue, as well as some other hard factors, such as leads and market share (given that it suits the requirements of your objectives).Tracking hard metrics can be done by means of implementing print out coupons, straight-forward e-commerce systems built into social media platforms, QR codes, etc.
This means of measurement, however, becomes problematic due to the nature of social media platforms. Eric Qualman, famous author of Socialnomics put it very aptly when he said, “Why are we trying to measure social media like a traditional channel anyway? Social media touches every facet of business and is more an extension of good business ethics”. Being probed even further on the subject of social media ROI, his response was, “what’s the ROI of your phone?”
The qualitative returns of social media can include a variety of things, including increased brand awareness, relationship building, change in brand sentiment, word of mouth, search engine optimisation, increased traffic to your website, etc.
This is where the importance of reliable online reputation management tools and analysis comes into play. By investing in robust systems you can garner valuable insights into consumer preference, behaviour, attitude, perceptions, and the like… the quality of information market researchers from the yester year could only dream of!
Results are then analysed to either prevent or repair reputation hot spots by pushing down negative results in search engine results pages. Whilst this method may seem akin to search engine optimisation techniques, the difference herein is that online reputation management aims to push down those negative results by means of, again, soft techniques, such as getting involved in the conversation, responding to consumer concerns and suggestions, content creation, and so forth.
Another great benefit of online reputation management is that it enables one to keep track of the environments in which users interested in the brand are commonly found, and use this information when planning which arenas within the online space to target with your next campaign.
In a world where opinion and behaviour is valued, should we not focus our efforts on adopting a model of measurement that values this behaviour, and the influence of our marketing efforts on how the behaviour of our consumers change in response to it?
It’s crucial to understand the nature of social media, so as to better select the tools that will serve this platform. For this reason, traditional hard metrics can no longer be used as a standalone but must be used in combination with soft metrics in order to fully understand the impact on the consumer and the influence exercised by the consumer in response to this impact.
Ask yourself this: is gaining thousands of followers really a viable success metric in social media? So you got the followers or fans… now what? Are they just one-night stands… or do they come back for more?
It’s crucial to understand the reason you’re in social media in the first place. Set realistic, trackable objectives.