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Social Media: What's the Point?

We all know we should be using social media, and most of us are, but how many of us are really using it in a thoughtful and strategic way?

I’ve read a lot recently on setting goals and measuring success in your social media efforts and there are some keys things I've learned that I'd like to share with you here.

A couple of digital marketing experts I’ve followed for a while have helped me rethink how I prioritize and allocate my time to social media. (I still have a long way to go, but at least feel I have a road map.) I’ve been working my way through Avinash Kaushik’s Web Analytics 2.0 this spring. He offers up “Four Metrics That Rock” in terms of social media:

Social Media Metric How It’s Measured
Conversation Rate Number of comments or replies per post
Amplification Rate Number of shares or retweets per post
Applause Rate Number of favorites/likes/+1’s per post
Economic Value Sum of Short- & Long-term Revenue and Cost Savings

Kaushik published an informative blog post thoroughly explaining all of these metrics and how to measure them.  Notice he doesn’t list the number of followers you have as a rockin’ metric.  He’s all about the response and conversation that ensues due to your shared content.

Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, author of The Thank You Economy, (we've covered him before) is less enthralled by numbers, at least in the shorter term. At a conference, he was asked repeatedly about justifying social media’s return on investment (ROI). His response? “What’s the ROI of your mother?”

Vaynerchuk argues that numbers don’t always tell the story, and if they’re all we care about, we’re missing the point. Social media offers a channel where we can
listen to and engage with our customers, our colleagues, and our competitors in a way unmatched by any other.

Vaynerchuk encourages us to care a little less about the numbers and a lot more about making connections that evoke emotional responses and foster longer-term relationships. With social media, he says, we should be running the marathon instead of the sprint—building trust and a community. (Here’s a video if you’d like to see
Vaynerchuk in action. Head’s up—he’s a fan of colorful language.)

I tend to believe that if we listen to Vaynerchuk, we’ll also be rocking Kaushik’s metrics…maybe not by next month, but the payoff will eventually come.

We’ll cover ideas on how to reach your social media goals in upcoming blog posts. In the meantime, we’d love to hear how you measure success with your social media efforts. And be sure to let us know if we can help you out with this or any other
internet marketing initiatives.