I was on a measurement panel at the IAB Social Media Conference recently, and we spoken a lot about the social media ‘scorecard. ‘ There were a variety of perspectives represented since Bryan Wiener, CEO of 360i, moderated the discussion between Liza Hausman of Gigya, Keith Kilpatrick from Buzzlogic, Jonathan Carson from Nielsen Online and me. We all agreed that we wanted the discussion to become practical and useable.
I dreamed the social media scorecard in vibrant color, its clarity overwhelmingly basic, something marketers and agencies can put in their pockets and make use of immediately when next evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of social media channels in an upfront media blend. Sounds easy, right?
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Enabling quality conversation (ranked on a ten point scale) with my consumers? Check. Possessing pass-along value that motivates influencers to inspire others about my core brand message, directly relatable to product sales? Check. The essential elements of virality, guaranteed to spread like wildfire through cyberspace? Check. Keep full control of my brand? Double-check.
Now, I am fully in favor of scores and scorecards. Without them, how may you know if your efforts are effective, or even if you are winning or losing? But while we all agreed that measurement must be the cornerstone, we furthermore recognized that there is no silver topic. Especially in emerging areas that are nevertheless defining the rules of the game, exactly where many marketers are still deciding whether or not to get in the game to begin with.
So let’s take a put away our scorecards and miracle bullets just for a little while, and discuss what we need to know to get started.
Three Helpful Points to Consider in Social Media Marketing and Dimension
1) Clarity is key: define your success
As with all media, just before diving in, ask yourself: what will it take for you to look back in the campaign and say that it was effective? Perhaps it will be based on the number of coupon codes downloaded, the number of 18-24 year olds who become fans on Fb, CRM signups or overall brand name effectiveness measures and attitudinal changes… Only you know what is important, but no matter what it is, be clear about it so that you can prepare to measure it, and adjust your campaign on the fly when need be.
2) Keep measurement simple and familiar
To break this down, separate quantity questions from quality queries. On the quantity side, keep it easy: know how many people you want to reach, then measure how many you actually reached post-campaign. Make these metrics as familiar as possible – if they are expressed within comparable terms to other parts of your own campaign, they are more likely to be tangible and accepted. Reach and frequency metrics are not going away any time soon.
The standard question allows for a bit more creativity : here is where you can bring in ‘engagement’ plus otherwise tie in your KPI’s from (1) back into your web system. Basically, you are building a track record together with your brand and making the case there were quality elements which underscored that social media marketing was a good choice. Based on what your success markers were, these metrics will vary – yet can range from ‘branding” metrics (e. g. as measured through comScore’s Brand Metrix studies) all the way to the lift in offline purchasing.
3) Control is not the point, listening can be
We know, we know… this is a scary assumption. But even the best clarity, choreography and execution cannot completely ensure control in a social media campaign. So let’s imagine for a moment that we can suspend our disbelief about relinquishing control and needing to communicate, and focus instead on how to be heard — because attention, in the end, is a scarce commodity. How may this be valuable, and what will be the added value of being able to listen directly, and adjust when needed?
The value task here is also the trade-off — this is two-way, and frequently one-to-many. Pay attention to the good. Respond quickly to the poor, and respond even faster to the ugly. Enable the conversation, rather than attempting to put it in a chokehold. People are talking about your brand anyway, so you may as well get down in the weeds and know what’s going on.