Social Media Measurement: What Should it Look Like?
The world of social media in business is changing, CMO’s, CEO’s and boards of directors across the globe are asking more questions, asking ‘why’ should we be on social media, what is the value, how do we measure ROI? As the market continues to mature, the frequency and the need for of this type of questioning will increase. Indeed a study by Google Wildfire and Ad Age highlighted that the top two concerns for senior business leaders are social media engagement and measurement.
So, what is social media measurement all about?
The Problem with Social Media Measurement
There are some 500 different social media listening and analytics platforms available on the open market. Each platform claims to be more powerful than the next with the best visualisations and ability to mine social media mentions, easily find out what the best time of day to post, who the audience is, I could go on and on and on.
The thing is that they really don’t let you get inside the behaviour and emotion of the social media engagement you are trying to measure! Measuring social media should include more than volume of mentions, platform share of voice, sentiment analysis and high-level keyword mapping. All of these functions are available as standard, there is no real insight behind the measurement. If you’re measurement and insight reports look a little like this….
...with a large part of this...
...and don't forget about sentiment...
...I would be asking for more.
What you are getting is a standard print off report of analytics. You see the buzz, the volume of social mentions and pretty key word chats but it’s not really measurement or insight is it?
Start Asking Questions
If your measurement reports do look like that, I challenge you to ask ‘what does this mean?’
In essence, what you have there is a summary of how much buzz your brand generated and on what platforms with some popular keywords. Does this insight, this measurement, allow you to refine your strategy and tactics? Can you measure the impact of social media engagement on your brand? Do you know the real context behind the conversation? Does this type of analysis help you reach your business objectives?
Are you even looking beyond the numbers?
There is going to become a point in time when all of the above questions need to be answered.
For me, that time was a long time ago. For you, that time is today.
Social media engagement must create value, an equal exchange of value between the brand and the customers the and wider stakeholders. If you can’t measure that value and use the insight generated nimbly realign strategy to react to market pressures and response then you’re not doing social media measurement properly.
Social media is not a passive communications medium. Social media is inherently involved. The involvement comes in the form of conversations and behaviours. A pretty buzz chart and a couple of pie charts do not effectively measure or value social media engagement.
A Way Forward
Your brand is unique, your customers unique, your social media engagement is unique. Off the self and standard approaches to social media measurement don’t get to the heart of engagement. Yes, they act as a starting point but there is a whole host of measurement and insight techniques that can be used to understand the context and behaviours behind the conversation.
We believe that social media measurement should start from a different place, using traditional marketing measurement approaches does not account for the conversation behind social media engagement.
Start From a Different Place
We approach social media by deconstructing your brand identity, values and experiences (for example, marketing campaign or product/service experience) to segment social data, or as we like to call it, digital noise, in a meaningful way.
We then use a combination of behavioural and emotional sciences to understand and measure your brands social media engagement and the impact on brand identify. We take sentiment analysis and put context into the mix – it’s no longer positive, negative or neutral, it’s the strength of brand feeling and involvement.
As every brand and every measurement opportunity is unique, it’s driven by behaviour it is inherently difficult to provide an example that is relevant for your brand. However, let’s take a look at a buzz chart and demonstrate where proper social media analysis can add another level of insight, actionable insight that can be used in nimble, agile marketing and business decision-making.
The usual approach to viewing buzz charts is to look in the peaks of conversation volume. Sounds reasonable but it’s really only a small part of the story. You probably already know why the peaks occurred – marketing or PR activity, a large news story, a crisis?
Do you know what’s happening at the rest of the time? This is where the rich intelligence is. Yes, measure your marketing activity but social media isn’t all made up of engagement because of marketing activity – what else is happening in your social media engagement?
As I said, this is where the intelligence is. A buzz chart does not give you this insight but social media measurement should and it should provide context into the conversation, it should relate to all aspects of your brand.
If you don’t know what is being said and in what context and how this impacts your brand you’re not getting social media measurement. You’re getting some off the peg analytics charts.
Ask for more.
Demand more from your social media measurement. If you can’t begin to address your business objectives from social media analysis, it’s not being done properly. If you don’t understand your audience, it’s not being done properly.
Demand more from your social media analysis. If you don’t the social media budget won’t be there for long.
About Jillian Ney
Dr Jillian Ney is the UK’s first Dr of Social Media and CEO at Disruptive Insight. She is passionate about helping organisations transform digital noise into valuable insight for business.
Dr Jillian provides social media measurement solutions that move away from sole view of 'analytics' to solutions that provide context and insight into evolving business needs. It's not all numbers, it's about finding out the 'why' of disruptive behaviours and implementing strategies to create meaningful customer experiences
Visit Disruptive Insight's website for more information.