Social Media A to Z Series: M is for Measure and Monitor. What Really Matters
So, you have put all this work into designing and preparing your site, page or group. You are feeling pretty good. You’ve got swag! Now what? It is important that you “shepherd” the growth of your “baby” to ensure that it develops in the direction you had hoped. You also want to ensure that you are making the right impression and presence in the social media arena. As a result, you do need to monitor what is being said and measure the results as it relates to your goals. So, what are your goals? Is it…
Blogging for content. This is the scenario where you are writing a blog with considerable emphasis on search optimization, attempting to drive traffic to the blog by creating content with keyword inclusion. Your key metric for this scenario would be search traffic.
Blogging for commerce. This is related to blogging for content that is commerce-oriented. In this case you are more interested in conversion than in traffic generation. Funneling traffic from the blog to some other web destination (typically a website) is the primary objective. Here, your metrics are leads and conversions.
Blogging for community.These blogs seek to build a consistent readership that interacts with the blogger(s) and advocates and/or endorse on behalf of what is published.
Blogging for all the above! This might be challenging but not impossible. Your social media strategy would have to be very carefully integrated, your blog posts strategically planned and its focus phased over time.
Let’s dive into what is meant by measurement. A huge topic and certainly this post will only initiate the conversation. So you have published your post and now you are sitting back so that your audience may rush to your site to hear what you have to say. Right? Hmmm not quite. It just does not happen like that especially for a new blogger. You have to work it, test it, work it again! Return to your original goals and link your metrics to those goals. Your goal could be to increase your presence and awareness in the social media space. Perhaps it is to generate opportunity leads. Perhaps you want a certain number of engaged members at your site in a certain time-frame. In addition to your own site, you maybe on other social networks that link back to your site like Facebook. Are these sites helping to increase awareness? Bringing fans back to your site. You would want to know which ones are working and which one’s are not. The most common measures are:
- Number of visitors to your site
- Quality of interaction on your site
- Length of time a visitor stays on the site
- Number of visitors that came from referral sites
- Number of subscriptions
- Number of shares
- Number of likes or votes for your posts
For Your Facebook Page, measures is often considered are:
- Number of Likes ( for your page and content)
- Number of impressions
- Number of shares
- Number of comments
For Your Twitter Account, typical measures include:
- Number of Followers (engaged followers is really the most meaningful measure)
- Number of Retweets
- Number of Replies
- Number of impressions
Monitoring is Listening and Observing. What are they saying? What are they doing? How are they interacting? You have thought about your goals and purpose of interacting with your community, however how will you know that you are succeeding? You need to regularly monitor your community and the internet to learn and engage so that you can improve your results. This is not any different to networking offline. You may decide to go to a convention, a conference to get a sense of what is being said about your interest; Is your name surfaced? Is your product or service mentioned?. They could be leads to improve or build new products and/or services. It could be an issue that you need to resolve quickly. You would want to do exactly the same on-line.
Monitoring on your site would entail regular review of your site to:
- Keep a pulse of what is being said and posted on your site.
- Ensure that you keep spams off.
- Keep your blog vibrant and responsive. This ensures that you can intervene in a timely manner when necessary. If you do not monitor, your site can quickly erode from its original purpose.
Monitoring the internet could include search by key words such as your name, your brand, your products.
- This provides very useful information about how you are being represented off your site; it taps into what is being said about you, your products and/ services.
- This can be very informative, providing key areas of what is working and what can be improved going forwards.
Measurement and Monitoring Tools- there are a gazillion of them. Really. Here are a few:
- Facebook insights
- Blog internal stats
- Google analytics
- Twenty feet
- Peer Index
- Social mention
- Meltwater Buzz
I am not personally familiar with all on the list. I am currently using 1-7. I wanted to share a few options for consideration. Pam Dyer published an excellent post listing 100+ social media monitoring tools. From this you can see that there are many to choose from. Pick one that best meets your need, where you understand the interpretation and within your budget. Remember, it does takes practice and time, so be patient as you develop your skill, understanding and know-how. What is important is that both monitoring and measurement should be a significant part of your social media strategy.
Return on Investment (ROI)
Most business owners and executives usually have one primary question when it comes to measures. What is the ROI? I believe there is an ROI however the measures is not necessarily the same formula as traditional measures of ROIs. Social media is not about the hard sell. Its primary objective is relationship building and so by definition it is a soft sell. Consequently the ROI is related to this with tangible and intangible metrics. If you take care of these related measures, the return and value will come. Do you have to measure the ROI? Yes. I also believe it should not be used as a rallying cry to justify continuing with traditional methods. I believe that one should give social media the due diligence it requires to at least consider it as a component of the market strategy.
What Really Matters?
At the end of the day, your monitoring and measuring should be telling you a story so that you can act. Recently bloggers and many social media enthusiasts have been up in arms about the change in the influence measure, algorithm in Klout. To me this is just a reminder that :
- We are pioneers in a new medium trying to put some structure and measures around it
- Social media is in its embryonic stage of its “lifecycle” and therefore we cannot necessarily rely on any one tool to give us the definitive answer on performance. It is being developed as we use it; and
- The human factor is a key input to ensure the proper assessment performance and context. Balance is also required.
Be clear why and what you are measuring and monitoring. As with all measurement initiatives, start with the critical few otherwise it can be overwhelming. Do not get too hung up on the tools, graphs and the figures. It is less important that a measure changes by a couple of point versus understanding the story and customer influence behind the figures so you can do something with them. Just sprouting out a rating or numbers because it sounds good, does not necessarily translate into an engaging business service or product. Your approach should be holistic and balanced in its intent.
Now it is your turn. Let me know what you use? Lets continue the discussion. Measures always get people going. If you enjoyed the post, give the post a +1 or Like to help my metrics.
- Image: Measuring time by aussiegall
- Cartoons use with the permission of Cartoonist.
- A Simple Way To Calculate Social Media Return on Investment (Social Media Examiner)
- How The Heck Do I Measure My Social Media ROI (Ken Herron)
- 12 Best Free Social Media Monitoring Tools (madrasgeek.com)
- What Social Media Metrics Matter? (janetaronica.com)
- How to Design Your Social Monitoring Plan (progressivemediaconcepts.com)
- Convergence of Online Marketing and Analytics (outspokenmedia.com)
- 100+ Social Media Monitoring Tools (Pam Dyer)