How do you know if social media is actually working for you?

Social media is one of those tricky things that is so accessible to business and yet somehow so distant. We spend a significant amount of our time talking to companies about social media and how they can apply to their organisation and importantly, how they should integrate it into their business so they can be more successfully connecting people.

So how do you know if social media is actually working?

It can be difficult sometimes to get your results in a clear bottom-line format (ie measuring the value of social media community in terms of sales alone). If you’re building a community, how do you measure its value?

The idea of effectively evaluating websites has always been a difficult task. As an industry, we have for years struggled with the metrics we need to effectively measure our work on the web. Some businesses we talk to us are still mired in the thinking that as long as their website gets hits then their website is effective. They say this as if the measurement tool of hits actually means something. (Which is something we address in our workshops as being a fairly pointless metric.  I don’t know about you, but my bank manager doesn’t accept hits on deposit or as a way to pay my bills. For me, the number of people who visit my website or even the number of times my website appears on their computer screen is the start of the process, it’s not the end.)

So in that environment of limited understanding of how we evaluate websites effectively, we parachute social media in. One of the things about social media in a private context is the more popular you are, the more effective it appears to be.  But even in that context things are changing. There is a genuine trend in social media community such as Facebook, for people to cull their friends list.   It seems  popularity is no longer the only way to measure if things are worthwhile.

Unfortunately, some businesses still use the popularity model as a way of determining whether their social media is working. But there needs to be more.

Measurement should always be measurable. It should always be tangible. If you have a social media community on Facebook or LinkedIn and you have 3000 people who are part of that community, how do you measure its effectiveness? This is an ongoing challenge when it comes to developing social media.

So what will a successful social media strategy look like your business? Is popularity enough? If it is a very simple, straightforward campaign which is strictly about awareness and nothing else then it may be enough. Oe will it generate ideas to the business? Will it generate customer feedback and free market research? If it is based around an offer, are there ways that we can measure the sales generated and develop an ROI based on that?

Not sure?  We can help.


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