Meaningful social media measurement

There is no shortage of debate on social media ROI. Social media sales attribution is difficult given the reality of Facebook privacy settings and the challenges of tagging media that brands don’t own. This is true for many word-of-mouth consumer behaviors.

For example, how easy is it to attribute a customer visiting a new restaurant because of a friend’s recommendation?

But that doesn’t mean brands shouldn’t measure social media and get meaningful information on the performance of their campaigns. Like an old boss once told me, “That which is not measured, does not get done.”

When utilized properly, social media generates awareness, consideration, loyalty and advocacy — all of which can be measured. Brand managers and CMOs should be concerned with seeing measurable results in each category.

The four consumer psycho demographics listed below are inherently tied to the ultimate key performance indicator: that of sales. Consider the following parameters that can be easily captured and measured:

  • Awareness: Number of brand and URL mentions.
  • Consideration: Website visits, page views, Facebook and Twitter click-throughs, social network page views, Twitter replies and blog views.
  • Loyalty: Fans, followers and community members, RSS subscriptions, Facebook interactions, Twitter mentions, blog/community comments and return visits to site.
  • Advocacy: Retweets, re-blogs, brand mentions, comments on a brand’s assets and Facebook “likes.”

Though by no means an exhaustive list, it does provide a sampling of the many ways marketers can effectively measure social media. While both awareness and advocacy are important to a brand, having a brand advocate is more valuable than general awareness. Advocates produce stronger brand action. At MediaWhiz, we measure all of this through something we call a “BrandAction” social index that combines the attributes of a brand’s awareness, consideration, loyalty and advocacy.

Here are some tips on developing your own effective social media measurement systems.

1. Measure each of the attributes listed above. Consider using both a social media monitoring tool and a social media publishing tool to capture the data. Then think about a weighting factor for each measurement. Are some attributes more valuable than others? Apply appropriate coefficients that represent clients’ brand partiality.

2. Once the key equations are established, collect data weekly or monthly. The specific number computed in the social media measurement index is meaningless. What matters is the number relative to a competitors’ value and, more importantly, changing that value over a specified period of time. Seasonal fluctuations are likely, so adjustments may be necessary, but look at the normalized curve. A 10% increase month-over-month demonstrates winning results.

3. Graph measurement areas — awareness, consideration, loyalty and advocacy — across one report. This provides an overview of how psycho demographics shift monthly. Examine where each parameter shifts relative to the others.

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