Today I will attempt to answer the third question in my "Marketer's Foray Into Social Media: How will my social media campaign be measured?", the ever-so-present question of social media measurement.
We answer this question constantly at Ignite, not because it is impossible to measure a social media campaign (quite the opposite!), but because it calls once again for a tailored equation per client. Like everything with social media marketing, it often depends on what the client's objectives are (what are you trying to accomplish by utilizing social media?) as well as their expectations of the campaign.
I will say that expectations are often the most difficult measurement objective to balance because often outcomes are surprising and unpredictable: while a client may want a high volume of traffic as their metric, another social media campaign might be better off measuring a smaller, niche audience that is actively participating in the social media space.
Therefore, to give a better idea of how a social media campaign can be measured, we must dive into the different types of social media measurement, and a little into how each are measured.
1. Traffic Measurement: Traffic measurement is often the most common type of social media measurement. While the more web traffic the better, in order to really quantify campaign results we always start with a baseline comparison and objective setting. This is where we study competing site traffic and analytics to develop realistic objectives for our campaign. For some sites, 100 visitors a day would be a success while for others it would be a dismal failure.
2. Audience Participation: Audience participation is often one of the hardest measurements, because it requires very specific goal setting and frequent monitoring of the social media chatter. For this measurement, we start by outlining which audience participation is worth more than others (ex. Is commenting worth more than outside blog coverage or vice versa?) , and then set up systems that track and report these conversations.
3. Goal Funneling: Establishing a funnel tracks specific audience interactions with the web, specifically how an audience member arrives at a goal. This "funnel" can help a client track how many clients purchased an item online, or simply how many readers downloaded a white paper. This measurement technique typically works well for e-commerce sites, but if you're clever it can work for most any site.
4. Image/Perception Building: This type of measurement appears to be the abstract and long-term measurement that companies resist the most. However for some companies, especially those with a negative image online, perceptions can easily be tracked and measured. Kryptonite locks for a great example of a company who is still suffering from a poor web perception that has lived on the web for years and years. You can measure this with pre- and post- surveys of customers, the general public, whomever the target is.
It doesn't just have to be "On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you like Company X." (In fact, that's not a very good question at all.) You can measure reputation, but you can also measure other things like "intent to buy", as in "If you were to buy a dog in the next 90 days, how likely would you say you are to buy a labradoodle? Very likely, somewhat likely... etc. etc." These types of questions can be a good way to see if you're moving the needle on perception type campaigns.
5. Outcomes Tracking: Another way to track something could be the amount of times an activity occurs (or does not occur) once the campaign gets going. For example, if you begin to use social media for customer support, do inbound phone calls drop? This could be a huge ROI (and we'd be happy to help with that). The issue here is to control (to the extent possible) for other facts. For example, did the 15% drop in inbound phone calls correlate with a 15% drop in sales the last quarter?
Finally, whatever way you do it, a social media should be measured frequently and throughout the campaign (remembering my earlier post on how long the campaign should last). Therefore, if you are looking for a social media agency, make sure that you choose an agency that makes you aware of and involved in the measurement objective setting and that will openly share analytics throughout the campaign. If they are hesitant, walk the other way. There is no social media marketing without analytics of some kind.funnel, marketer, measurement objectives, media campaign, Social Media, social media agency, social media measurement
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