Ever since the dawn of time (well ok, since Mad Men was real-life), marketeers have been fixated by big numbers. Even better, big numbers that get bigger over time. Even better than that, big numbers that get even bigger more quickly than the last time you measured them. You get the gist. But in social media measurement, the opposite could be true.
Big number fixation has been predicated quite rightly on the principles of leverage and efficiency. Targeting the highest volume of reach, frequency, impressions, clicks or links per marketing £ investment. We would never argue for a second that that principle no longer stands for measuring the success of traditional advertising, but it is potentially dangerous if it’s applied to social media. We’re seeing this particularly in the context of Facebook and Twitter where big number fixation can skew folks’ view of success.
Put simplistically, the absolute number of followers and likers is not a flat-out measure of success. Many Facebook fans could easily have liked a page, never to be seen again. The simplistic evaluation principle of big number getting bigger would provide an unrealistic read.
So, what should good look like? Guess what – that depends. Every proper campaign should begin with the end in mind. Set-out an objective, and agree a target for success which can be measured and is achievable.
That’s where channel selection is so important. Social media like PR is not ‘free advertising’, it’s not a chance to broadcast your sell message to as many people as possible for as little money as possible. It’s a chance to engage, persuade and converse. If your objective is, for example to understand consumers’ perceptions of your brand, or to change an entrenched opinion, then social media is bang-on. Your objective could be linked to traffic driving and SEO, which are also predicated on quality over quantity these days.
That’s why the real measure of success in Facebook, is the ‘Talking About’ metric. This is the number of people who have created stories around your brand, whether that’s posting on your wall, commenting on your posts, or sharing links and content with their friends. Simplistically, it means they really like you, rather than pretending to do that to get something out of you.
The key word here is stories. Most brands have thousands of stories to tell, but what most people forget is that to a consumer, a story worth sharing is not about your product and price. Keep that message to your advertising, and make sure the numbers you use to measure that are big and getting bigger.
Posted by Richard on January 12th, 2012