Are Social Media Metrics Useful?

To round out this weeks topic of choice, social media, I wanted to talk about the metrics used to figure out whether or not your site, blog, application or Twitter feed is really attracting any traffic and what you can do to stimulate your readers and keep them coming back.

Personally, I am really glad I switched to blogging on wordpress because the site itself gives all sorts of metrics: how many people looked at your posts and which ones on any given day, where those people came from and what they typed into a search engine in order to get to you blog. This not only gets me really excited and wondering what key words I should mention in my blogs but also drives me to keep blogging, and hopefully helping you guys out during your job search!

While looking on Ad Age’s site yesterday I came across an article that talked about why focusing on metrics is killing people’s creativity.  Before we go into that I wanted to draw your attention to another article that talks about Social Media Ad Metrics Definitions.  I really enjoyed reading this document because it doesn’t focus on Twitter and Facebook like many other white papers and articles.

Instead, the writer gives an overview of among other things, social media sites and states that “The size of the network is primarily a reflection of the active participation of the audience, as consumer-generated media represents that vast majority of all content. For consumers the true value of a network is measured by the frequency of engagement of the participants.” I am a true believer of this.  A company cannot be succesful if all they do is talk about themselves and their achievements. They have to talk about the consumer and the things the consumer enjoys doing.

If you are a company who makes outdoor supplies then you should talk about outdoor activities taking place in and around the community.  Engage your readers and have them learn from you instead of bombarding them with corporate speak.

If your corporation is thinking about making a unique application or widget then it should think about the two traditional ways for application advertising: sponsorship and dedicated brand application.

* The first suggests collaborating with developers and middle men to promote your products or services within an already existing application.

* The second option suggests working with a developer to build an application around your brand objective, whether it be through alerts, videos, events, quizzes, etc.  I think the second would take a much bigger effort so to start out I would go the route of sponsorship because you will not only learn about wht may or may not work but you could also split the cost with whoever made the original application.

But how do you find out if these efforts are really helping your corporation? As I learned from the Social Media seminar late last month which was lead by Tyson Goodridge of Dialogue; with social media you really can’t measure ROI in the traditional ways of money coming in to your corporation, instead it is measured by how many relationships you’ve been able to build.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau suggests looking for the following:
1. Unique Visitors
2. Cost per unique visitor- total cost of the application or ad placement divided by the number of visitors
3. Page Views
4. Visits
5. Return Visits
6. Interaction Rate- the consumer interactive with the ad or application.  Do they respond to your post or re-tweet your post?
7. Time spent

Although I agree that some, if not all, of the above are important I think that site relevance is a lot more important.  Does your site or blog relate tot he redears?  Do they interact with you and ask questions or post comments?

But what about all of these metrics killing our creativity and everyone focusing on key words and not actual content?  That is exactly what Patrick Sarkissian discusses in his latest article for Ad Age.  He states that social media and marketing creativity is being stifled by the ever consuming bottom line.  There has to be ROI for everything, and if there is nothing coming in a lot of times people would rather not bother and move their efforts else where.  Corporations sometimes see ad agencies as a thorn in their sides because true marketing efforts may only shine after a long period of time, once relationships are built.

Patrick says “We are forgetting that brand preference is built on emotional connections. No measurement tool is going to change that. Period. What works are creative and strategic communications that seamlessly engage and interact with the target audience. Most important, it’s big, new ideas — not crunched numbers — that remain in a person’s mind long after the initial experience. They are what really make a brand stick with the consumer for current and future recall, and numerous case-studies prove it.”

I hope these two articles are helping you understand this crazy new world of marketing we live in. As I said before,my blogging has come out of my unemployment.  When you are given lemons, make lemonade!  I am reaching out and offering my time to cafe’s and other smaller “townie” establishments that could maybe grow out of having a Facebook page or Twitter feed.  I hope to grow my knowledge as much as I can so I can expand my skill set, which I wrote about yesterday.

Take this time to learn something new!

Have a great weekend and think about answering that ever-present question, “what did you do today?” in a new and exciting way!


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