I read a post on Social Media Today
written by Alan Maites
expressing some frustration with the lack of good information about measuring social media. He was bemoaning a piece Brian Solis
had written for Advertising Age on Eight Steps to Creating a Brand Persona
, sort of using it as an example to say there is no real good practical info out there on best practices for social media. It reminded me that there are a lot of us PR/Marketing/Communications people trying to figure out how to quantify social media. He even included a great cartoon from Hubspot
that expressed the dilemma.
It's trueâ€”metrics for social media is in its infancy stage, so there is a lot of information out there, but not much in terms of best practices. I have seen some good pieces out there, though, and I'll attempt to steer you towards some good resources.
First, let me come to Solis' rescueâ€”he is most prominently a thought leadership guy. You're not going to get much A-B-C type stuff from Brian. He is a thinker and a researcher. I like his stuff, but always remember his context. I think his latest book, Engage
, is great reading when trying to figure out how to frame social media in marketing. It is heady, however. Don't read it in bed before going to sleep. You need to be fully engaged with a highlighter in one hand.
Next, I am going to borrow from Beth Kanter
(she writes an excellent blog on social media) who did a review of a free e-book on Facebook metrics
on her blog. She tracks measurable data on her Facebook
page with the help of a strategy from the above mentioned e-book by Shabbir Imber Safdar
of the TruthyPR blog
and Shayna Englin
who runs her own consulting company. The book is blessedly available for free download here
said she took the objectives of her Facebook
page (engagement and listening) and measured the data that relates to that. She gives a list in the blog post here
that she gleaned from the e-book. She mentioned that Safdar
and Englin's e-book covered a lot more metrics than she mentioned, but she picked out the ones she felt fit her objectives.
I referenced these two pieces (Kanter's blog and the free e-book) to make a point that the information on metrics is out there, but there aren't any shortcuts to finding or implementing them. But, there aren't any shortcuts to implementing metrics for traditional media either.
I think what's befuddling me is that social media metrics haven't been around long enough to have any real best practices established so it takes some digging and working through. I'd like people to just hand me something I can implementâ€”I don't think we're at that stage yet with social media. But these two pieces give me a good start on understanding how to implement some simple, effective metrics. And, I am hoping there is some carryover power there to other media.
Do you have a measuring system for your social media? I'd like to hear your thoughts--any tools you use?
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