See How the Other Half Lives

A recent Adobe Social webinar revealed that less than 50% of companies that are using social track their success, or failure. That’s any success, not just the favorite C-suite question of ‘what’s my ROI?’

The ROI of social is attainable. You can track a multitude of things to generate metrics that add to or directly contribute to a return for social spend. We know that. Marketers (should) know that.

So why isn’t it happening?

1)      Comfort

There’s nothing better than a warm blanket and a fire on a cold, snowy day. And there’s nothing worse than having that blanket pulled away to reveal that you haven’t showered and hadn’t planned to because you certainly aren’t going to leave that comfy spot.

Marketers get comfortable, too. We rely on words like proven and tested and things like case studies and white papers to help us make decisions. And when those boxes are checked, we move to our budget line items and inherent challenges in overcoming “upstairs” understanding of the value social will deliver. It’s comfortable. The budget says we can spend $1M on email and direct mail. They are widely accepted, easy to talk about, and don’t require any heavy lifting.

That needs to change.

2)      We don’t say what we do

When a doctor treats a patient, the patient must be completely open and honest about his medical history and the doctor needs to be straightforward and realistic about what medical assistance is available and the results the patient should expect. This is analogous to clients and sales professionals. Too often, we don’t say what we do and we don’t do what we say.

Everyone needs to be upfront about what they have, and what they need. Available resources, creative assets – if they don’t exist, everyone needs to know about it before building a plan that relies on them.

3)      Social media results aren’t being measured properly

But they can and should be.  The results your social media platforms are delivering should not be measured by how many fans and followers you have.  We don’t base the success of a bodybuilder on how many fans he or she has; rather, we use other empirical data to determine value. First, understand your business level objectives and how social media integration can help those objectives.

Next, select metrics that are actually applicable to your company or industry and be sure to select “a handful,” or rather, not too many and not too few. What is measured should be compared to what the goals are. For example, if you care about search traffic, measure your page referrals from social content; if you care about engagement, measure virality, shares, share of voice, etc.


4)      What is being measured isn’t being used to improve and strategize

Use what you measure. Take learning’s and tweak page activity to get a different result. Simply reporting just for the sake of reporting is not useful. It’s productive to experiment and see what works, but knowing your audience and what encourages them to respond is what should motivate your “experiments.”

Be a social scientist: generate hypotheses, perform experiments, produce results, and adjust your social media plan accordingly.

There is little to no ROI in social media if you aren’t tracking and measuring the appropriate and necessary metrics. Start measuring; start growing.

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