Wednesday, 10 November 2010

How to measure social media - notes from last night's #smcakl presentation

Hi, it's Simon Young here. Thanks to those of you who came to the last Social Media Club Auckland for 2010. Great to see some familiar faces and some brand new people.

As promised, here are the notes and links from my presentation, "How to measure social media"

Useless measurements

  • Number of followers. See Cate's post for a few great explanations why.
  • Number of updates. (And yet people get so uptight about this when Twitter gets it wrong!) 

Important measurements

  • If you're in a business or organisation, return on investment. Money in, money out. (Best explanation I've seen is Olivier Blanchard's slideshow)
  • Technology purchases used to be about buying a piece of software, and then everything was (supposed to be) easy. 
  • Social media is the opposite - the technology is free, it's the other 3 T's you need to think about:
    • Talent
    • Training
    • Time

Let's back up...

Measuring the direct line between "money in" (ie talent, training and time) and "money out" (the specific business objectives/KPIs you had in mind) is hard! Thankfully there are some measures that can help indicate where the value is happening. I've chosen 5:

  1. Risk management
  2. Demonstrating brand values
  3. Traditional Customer Service Metrics
  4. Empathy
  5. Social Currency

Risk Management

Hard to come up with a dollar figure, but just asking the question "What's the cost of doing nothing?" is a great start to get us out of our ruts.

Demonstrating Brand Values

According to the Gallup Staff Engagement Survey 2009, disengaged employees cost US businesses US$416 billion in lost productivity

How do you combat that? A whole bunch of ways, but one of the biggest ways is for the company to demonstrate (not just say) what it's about.

For example, AMP's Do Your Thing campaign - as seen in my column in the latest NZ Marketing Magazine, page 71 - and it's not online (yet) so you'll have to go buy a copy :) 

Traditional Customer Service Metrics

The trouble with social media sometimes is that it's too different for companies. But how can it fit into existing structures, like a call centre? That's the approach Auckland-based Datasquirt has taken with its product CONTACT Social (disclosure: I have a referral agreement with Datasquirt, because I believe their product fills a need in the market). 

They have the typical measures you'd find in a call centre: handle time, wait time, and who are the best performers. Those are the kind of measures you can tie to profitability and cost savings. 


It sounds like a warm fuzzy thing, but UK-based Harding and Yorke have shown a direct relationship between empathy and profitability. More info here.

Empathy is even more important on social media, because there's no body language or tone of voice. And those of us who use social media personally know that empathy is a huge part of our social connections online. 

Social Capital

Erich Joachimsthaler wrote the book on how to value a brand, now he sees a lot of potential in the concept of social capital

In a nutshell, social capital is how much a brand can be part of a consumer's everyday life. Instead of standing up on stage talking at you, a brand with high social capital is part of your everyday. 



These 5 factors are only a few ways social media can add real value to an organisation or business. I welcome your thoughts and feedback on how else value can be realised through social media engagement.

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1 comment:

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