Social Media Metrics are the (or at least “a”) new black. As a CMO I get at least two calls a week from some start-up that is tracking, researching or trying to cook-up some new way of measuring social.
Most efforts are muddled. Here’s why. They muddle tracking and monitoring (critical if you are looking to listen, understand your reputation and serve customers better) with measuring the performance of marketing investments in social. The reality is that most of these investments are a fraction of the total marketing spend. Think less than 2%. So why bother?
Ron’s most recent blog is right on the mark:
The most important question to address isn’t “what social media metrics should we be tracking?” but “should we even spend time and money developing social media metrics to track?”
Assume that a company’s marketing budget is $100 million, and that 50% of it is spent on TV advertising, 20% on print advertising, 20% on direct mail, 5% on online advertising, 4% on events, and 1% on social media.
Of the six approaches that marketing invests in, which of the six would you want to have the most accurate marketing ROI metrics?
My top three would be TV, print, and direct mail. Cuz that’s where 90% of the marketing dollars go.
If the CMO of my fictional company doesn’t have the “right” social media metrics in place, so what? Does it really matter that much?
That doesn’t mean social isn’t important. I’d argue it is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE MARKETING MIX.
Here is what marketers can’t ignore. We need to be clear on how we are creating value for our respective businesses. Social can significantly reduce the number of calls to call centers saving millions. That is value creation. Marketers can use the power of social networks to win new customers fast and at a fraction of the cost of other mediums. That is value creation.
Perhaps the HBR story that Ron takes issue with is semi-right here – although I am with Ron, you can’t just assume that social impacted sales. Correlation is a lousy means of proving impact.
The key here is to do social with intent. What this means is running programs and iniatives that are specifically social and at scale. Programs that lead with social.
Start measuring what you create for the business and you’ll be on the right path. Get caught in the social media measurement muddle and you’ll end-up going nowhere.
Critically, just do social. Do it now. The most effective social programs I’ve seen never started with a metric – they started with a great idea that got executed well against a clear customer need and social opportunity. The rest is history.