Saturday, October 3, 2009

How to measure Social Media - Recap of MindTrek

Very good social media presentations by Chris Messina, David Coleman, Maria Pienaar, Kaija Pöysti, Teemu Arina and panel discussions at MindTrek on Thursday inspired me to write this recap. First of all I have to admit that social media is very complex! Like (human) relationships usually are...

For those who don't know anything about social media (and believe me, there's plenty of those people in companie's top management at the moment), you can read Wikipedia's description but more simple definition could be:
"Social media can be compared as traditional word of mouth."
Traditionally you didn't have a chance to participate if there was at least two people talking about your company. These conversations, like everything else, has moved to web and people are using different kind of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, IRC Galleria just to name few. Now companies, read people in companies, can participate these conversations.

Well, should you? Some companies in Finland have banned e.g. Facebook for their employees. Instead, our government has created rules how to participate these discussions. To me, it's like top management of the company is saying don't talk anything about our company.
"Platforms in web are just one media, banning one media doesn't end conversations what so ever."
In bad and in good, these platforms and discussions can be really powerful. What earlier took some time with mouth to mouth, now can explode to thousands and thousands of people in just a fraction of time.
"Every company should be worried about their online reputation."
If you or your boss need some facts, take a look at Alexa's list of top sites in Finland. At this time there are approximately 1,3 million people in Facebook who live in Finland! Every fourth Finn is in the Facebook and the website is second in in Alexa's list right after search.

It's not my responsibility if you decide to turn your back to all these people who are talking about you and your brands all the time. Weilin + Göös, a publisher, is resigning 55 people out of 67. They claim that one of the reasons was a change in customer behaviour. Well, it obviously didn't happen over a night and I think that top management was totally lost with understanding their customers. In my mind:
"Companies don't have an option anymore whether to use social media or not."
But I truly understand that we would like to measure how effective social media is? Coming back to the complexity of social media, I have to say that measuring will be hard and complex as well. But we can try to measure and understand better social media usage.
"Worst thing you can do is jump right off to some social media platform without any planning."
First question you should ask yourself is "why are we doing this"? Actually from measuring point of view this is very relevant question to any marketing activities you may have. By answering that question you can easily define your key performance indicator for your efforts. It can be improved customer satisfaction, better brand awareness, more sales and name it. I think you already know "how to measure these outcomes"? For example you can use surveys, top of mind researches and your online/offsite sales.

"Measuring social media is always multi-/cross-channel measurement task."

With the big picture in mind, hell you can even try measuring social media ROI, you have to measure also social media micro goals. Here is a list of KPI examples you could use:
  • number of followers or individual/group members
  • number of new sign ups or sign up ratio in certain timeframe
  • number of posts, comments, etc. = conversation rate
  • number of negative/positive posts, comments, etc.
  • viral effect of your message/offer over time
You have to include these metrics to your onsite KPIs (I hope you have them already in place?). Here's couple of free tools you can use to collect more data:

Got comments, new ideas, something you want to share or argue with? Feel free and leave a comment! You can learn more, shoot a private questions to my email or follow me at Twitter (@mertanen). Finally a funny parental video about Facebook: you can learn this platform through your kids! : )