Archive for the ‘Measurement & metrics’ Category

What’s behind the numbers?

March 26, 2011

Facebook's Domination by infographiclabs
Last week I spoke with the managing director and marketing director of an online publication company looking to use social media as part of a digital expansion programme. It was encouraging to speak with two senior managers who have clearly recognised the opportunities and benefits that social media can offer and are prepared to use new media channels as part of their company’s marketing mix.

However, one of the things that concerned me during our meeting was when they said one of their main social media objectives was to boost the number of ‘likes’ on their Facebook page from around 9,000 to 1 million within a four to six month period and that ‘scale’ was of particular importance to them.

Bigger is not always better

A large following, whether that be through ‘likes’ on Facebook or followers on Twitter, is a perfectly legitimate social media marketing metric. Amongst other things, a large following will give you a fantastic opportunity to market to your existing customer base and help you establish credible social capital. But when this is one of the only social media marketing metrics, one begins to worry. It may be a cliché , but quality really is more important than quantity when it comes to (effective) social media marketing. You may grow your following and boast over a million ‘likes’ on Facebook, but so what?

Social media is a paradigm shift from traditional marketing techniques and requires a different type of thinking. It involves bringing the audience into the marketing process by including them in conversations, engaging with them and starting a dialogue. Social media marketing will not be effective if you build up a following only to broadcast messages and advertisements to them in the traditional one-to-many fashion. You need to proactively target your key social media audiences and give them a compelling reason to connect with you.

It’s not just the size – it’s what you do with it that counts!

One million Facebook ‘likes’ would be great, but what if only 25% of the Facebook following really liked you and the majority were disengaged with the brand and unresponsive to the discourse you’re trying to generate? Surely it would be better to aim for 20,000 Facebook fans who are interested and enthusiastic about your product or service and form part of a community that regularly interacts with your content and spreads it organically across their social graphs. Only this way will you begin to see increased conversions, be it actionable clicks over page views, enquiries, leads or sales. These are the metrics that really matter the most.

What are your thoughts on social media marketing metrics? What do you use to measure success? What does good social media look like?

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Photo credit: Inforgraphic by Infographiclabs. To view the full picture click on the picture or alternatively click here.

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