We here at Yeoman are very interested in how customers and prospects interact with brands online. Inc. Magazine recently ran an article on 4 new services that promise to measure your brand's social media influence- and presumably influence you to make some important decisions on how much hard cash to spend on soft marketing initiatives.
But can you really wrap numbers around activities designed to build brand awareness and consumer loyalty? Back when it was all "real-world" PR, sponsorships and the like, no one really bothered to try. Now that we can track and trace everything all over the web, we think we can (and should) build business cases for every moment of employee time that gets spent on brand awareness activities. The question is: are we getting smarter about measuring the results of social media or are we killing the goose just as it's laying the golden egg?
The answer, like your comany's Facebook status, is "it's complicated." Should you look beneath the surface and use some well understood metrics to see how effective your campaigns are? Absolutely. Should you let someone else slap some cookie cutter metrics on what those success factors are? Probably not.
To really measure your online influence, you need to look at all of your online efforts in a way that respects the way you do business: your products, your unique place in the market and the hearts and minds of your customers. Then set your own specific goals and measure how you're doing against them. Some interesting questions to answer include:
Do my customers and prospects actually use Twitter/Facebook/Linked In/etc?
Are the prospects I get from these sources worth getting? (hint: Google Analytics can help here)
Is there some real (albeit soft) value to my social media presence that I really just can't measure?
Our verdict is to be suspicious of any one-size fits all measurement approach that sticks your stats into an engine and spits out a one-dimensional response. Develop your own metrics for success, then figure out which methods best move the needle for you.
And get in touch with us if you want some help digging in.