What do Executives Need to Know about Social Media Measurement?

Social media measurement runs the gamut of analytics, from increasing friends and followers to capturing brand sentiment and share of voice in a community.  With so many metrics, what does the CEO or the senior level executive need to know about ROI?  The first concern is how is the marketing or PR, which includes the social media communications, contributing to the company’s bottom line? Is the activity in any social network leading people to the company’s website to register? Are constituents emailing for more information, or purchasing product/services?  Next, it’s important to see if the social outreach results in a brand lift; are the conversations supporting a positive image / reputation, and does it allow the company to maintain a thought leadership position?

Executives also want to know if social media is saving them money (using social outreach vs. an advertising spend to create a desired behavior) or perhaps does social engagement offer a reduction in costs, due to a decrease a call center volume. And, in the case of crisis, social media is the quickest way to address the negative conversations directly and to keep the public informed and updated constantly.  Using social media to direct the crisis communications saves a company costly advertising or marketing efforts with a broad public apology. Lastly and most importantly, Executives want to know if customers are satisfied and if social media is helping to answer their questions and provide them with excellent information.  A happy customer is paramount to the success of the business.

However, this doesn’t mean that we’re not measuring the likes, comments, friends, followers, retweets and the number of times that people click on the links we share.  All of these metrics let us know how the brand is participating and engaging with people.  Studies show that a person who likes a brand on Facebook is more likely to purchase from that brand than someone who is not a friend.  The same goes for Twitter.

Building community is also an important measurement.  Building a strong community contributes to the reputation, the sentiment and often the cost savings as you are reaching more people and satisfying their needs with instant information and answers to their questions.  Community building also serves as your customer satisfaction research. When consumers are asking you directly about your products services and discussing what they like and dislike amongst themselves you can learn a tremendous amount of intelligence.  In this case, the social conversations are similar to holding a market research focus panel. You're able to gather customer insights and they also offer you a glimpse of their conversations with peers.

There’s a great deal of measurement to capture.  PR and marketing professionals will continue to report the metrics to benchmark their progress for executives.  You can start with the likes, comments and retweets, but you need to work your way up to the ROI or the revenue part.  Evaluating both types of metrics will allow executives to visualize the results of a robust program.  Of course, anything that leads to the bottom line will be the executive’s first area of focus.



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