A not so shockingly similar aspect between both texts is their clear argument that you need to have measurable objectives. Both Katie Paine (2011) and Neal Schaffer (2013) mention this as one of the first things you must consider when you plan to create a social media strategy because it is the reason your strategy exists in the first place. Success must be achievable and the only way to measure if you meet your objectives is for there to be a bottom-line impact – this is the key to measuring exactly what matters to the company’s business (Paine, 2011).
Many of the tools discussed by Mark Farmer were used as a way to measure and quantify elements found on social media sites, it was these elements that inform you if you are meeting your objectives. Some examples include, hootsuite, tweetreach, Google Analytics, Export.ly, Klout, Facebook Insights, etc.
To most people it is clearly obvious why we measure social media metrics but still one in four small businesses have no strategy in place for social media marketing (B2C, 2014). With more new social media networks becoming popular like, Vine, Pinterest and Instagram, there is a clear need to understand how to utilize these tools and leverage them to your company’s advantage. However, Schaffer recommends that clients focus on the technologies of the hear-and-now because they need to maximize the potential of the current existing social networks before looking to the future (2013).
Yet, no matter what platform you choose to use it is the metrics that tell you if your social media strategy is working, because they indicate a quantifiable change that proves the effectiveness of your approach by accelerating or achieving corporate objectives (Schaffer, 2013). There are many items that someone can measure to assess whether a social media campaign has correctly produced change within their target market:
- Impressions: measuring the numbers of likes, followers, friends and visits to your social media site.
- Engagement: you cannot simply sit back and watch you need to contribute valuable content to stimulate the community and your target audience. You should also respond in a timely manner to inquiries to build brand awareness and generate respect amongst your audience.
- Revenue: measuring whether the cost of the campaign has actually increased the revenues of the company.
An Altimeter Group report found that 70% of businesses believed social media could meet business objectives, but only 43% had a formalized strategy for how social media would meet these specific business goals (2012). It is alarming how many companies naively believe that merely having social media is enough to guarantee them success. Not only is social media always in flux, with consumers changing their preferred social media sites at the drop of a hat, they are also an extension of the brand and require careful thought in their construction and content.
Like many of the social media disasters discussed by my peers and I over the past week not understanding your company’s voice and brand, not accepting that your audience is always watching, and not recognizing that your social media strategy conveys who you are as a company are deadly missteps that are not quickly forgotten by your audience. (Plus, if you give your audience the opportunity to ridicule you they will take it). You cannot simply enter the world of social media without a plan and business objectives. If you and your staff have nothing to strive towards they will accomplish nothing. Taking the time to solidify the objectives and how you will measure their success will ensure you kick butt.
Altimeter. (2012). Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation. Retrieved February 18, 2014, from http://www.slideshare.net/jeremiah_owyang/smms-report-010412finaldraft/1
B2C. (2014). 5 Essential Steps to Success in Social Media Marketing. Retrieved February 18, 2014, from http://www.business2community.com/social-media/5-essential-steps-success-social-media-marketing-0772198#!wqHGY
Developers. (n.d.). hootsuite. Retrieved February 18, 2014, from https://dev.twitter.com/programs/twitter-certified-products/hootsuite
Paine, K. (2011). Measure What Matters: Online Tools for Understanding Customers, Social Media, Engagement, and Key Relationships. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Schaffer, N. (2013). Maximize your social a one-sep guide to building a social media strategy for marketing and business success. Hoboken, New Jersey: Windmills.
TheDrum. (2013). A third of UK social media users don’t use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram or Linkedin. Retrieved February 18, 2014, from http://www.thedrum.com/news/2013/10/12/third-uk-social-media-users-dont-use-facebook-twitter-youtube-flickr-pinterest
tweetreach. (2014). tweetreach. Retrieved February 18, 2014, from http://tweetreach.com/