ERIC T. PETERSON
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A new report debuted last week on CEO.com from the creators of DOMO, which citied findings about the social participation of Fortune 500 CEO’s. The report showcased the fact that only 7.6% of big company CEO’s are on Facebook; only 1.8% actually use Twitter; and that 70% of global CEO’s have no social media presence at all. To these numbers, I say…FANTASTIC!
Now, don’t get me wrong…I’m a huge proponent of social media and of measuring it methodically…I even wrote a book on this topic. Further, I corroborate the statements that social media has become a transformative force that’s changed the way individuals and businesses communicate. Of course, without a doubt! Yet, when CEO’s are called to task for not individually participating in social channels…well I for one think that they should be spending their time focusing on fiscal responsibility, shareholder value, and customer satisfaction with their products and services. These CEO’s should be lauded for focusing on what matters and for delegating a social presence to others within their organizations who are hired to interact with consumers and to keep touch with the pulse of their marketplace.
The downloadable report is accompanied by a slick video and jazzy infographic…that basically tell us that most CEO’s aren’t Twittering all day (Ummm…that’s good, right?).
While this report certainly doesn’t shed light on what CEO’s actually do spend their days doing, it proves that they aren’t looking to social media as an output channel. And thank goodness for that. While social media is undeniably valuable for communicating to consumers, marketing to them, and interacting in meaningful ways…last time I checked, that’s not the job of an officer in chief. Do they need to be aware of it…? ABSOLUTELY! Do they need to be open to consumer and employee interactions? Why Yes! But do they need to be a first-line responder? I think not. There are lots of ways for executives to stay informed and to communicate. Yet, bolstering a social media presence only to abandon it shortly thereafter, or allow it to die a slow unused death doesn’t help anyone’s credibility.
Maybe I’m alone, but in my opinion the underlying premise of this research missed the mark by a long-shot. Fortune 100 CEO’s shouldn’t be pandering to consumers on social media. Let’s allow the executives in chief the opportunity to focus on business and save the Twittering and Facebooking for the marketers.
“Goddam money. It always ends up making you blue as hell.” ~ Holden Caufield, The Catcher in the Rye
That is…if you let it.
During our webinar yesterday Activating Your Socially Connected Business, Lee Isensee (@OMLee) and I caused a minor flurry on Twitter when I Tweeted about the results Lee showed from the IBM/comScore social sales data from Cyber Monday. The findings revealed that $7 million dollars captured on Cyber Monday 2011 in online sales was directly attributable to social media. This makes up 0.56% of all online sales on Cyber Monday 2011.
The skeptics were quick to pounce on the paltry figure, with #WhoopDeeFrigginDo’s and “rounding error” rhetoric (see the Storify.com synopsis). And I agree, that half a percentage point, by anyone’s count isn’t a whole lot of impact. Even when it equates to $7 million bucks in a $1.25 billion dollar day of digital shopping. However folks, remember that all online sales last year represented just 7.2% of holiday cha-chingle in retailers’ pockets. According to comScore’s numbers that’s $32.6B in digital business over the 2010 holiday shopping season. Yet, how many of the total $453B in last year’s holiday sales…or this year’s forecasted $469B in holiday sales…were/will be ***influenced*** by online channels? The answer is a lot.
According to research firm NPD, 30% of all holiday shoppers plan to buy online this year, with the numbers even larger for high income households. Further, a full 50% of shoppers will turn to the Internet to research products prior to buying this year. And this that doesn’t include another 20% that will rely on consumer reviews and 4% who will turn to social media for their pre-buying intel. As we know, many of these shoppers will hit the stores with smartphones in hand, ready to get info or tap into their social networks as necessary.
My point is that if you’re so narrowly focused on social media that the only reason you’re in it is for the money…then you’re missing the point. Social media is today – and will be tomorrow – an enabler. It’s a method to engage with people on a meaningful level and to allow them to engage with one another. As a brand, if you can’t see this then you’re totally missing the point. It’s not all about the Benjamin’s. Social media ROI is important, but trying to pin everything down to bottom line metrics will have you “blue as hell” when it comes time to tally the numbers.
Instead, work to identify other Outcomes for your social media objectives that ***don’t have*** direct financial implications, but that ***do have*** business value. Demonstrating that your social channels reduce call center costs, elevate customer satisfaction, or simply drive awareness of your in-store promotions will deliver value deep within the business.
I’m all for generating ROI from social media activities and making direct revenue correlations when they exist. Yet, in today’s world, social media isn’t just about the bucks. It’s a means to deliver better experiences for the many people who turn to that channel.
If you’re interested in learning more about Activaing Your Socially Connected Business, download Chapter 3 from Social Media Metrics Secrets, courtesy of IBM.
Google’s Eric Schmidt appeared today at LeWeb 2011 and dropped some notable quotes during his interview with conference organizer Loic Le Meur (@loic), including this prescient perspective: “It’s reasonable to say that in the future, the majority of cars will be driverless or driving-assisted.” Foreshadowing perhaps? Could be…but closer to reality:
Google’s Executive Chairman also quipped, “It’s easier to start a revolution and more difficult to finish it.” Google should know. They’ve been revolutionizing the way in which consumers interact on the Web since their inception and news posted today following the LeWeb chat follows suit.
The news reveals a new initiative launching today called the Social Data Hub. What’s even more exciting is the Google Analytics Social Analytics reporting to appear sometime next year. While the details were somewhat vague, I got the inside scoop and what was published should be enough to incite a minor frenzy in the Social Analytics circles.
The “Social Data Hub” is a data platform that is based on open standards allowing Google to aggregate public social media posts, comments, tags, and a plethora of other activities using ActivityStream protocol and Pubsubhubbub hooks. (Yea, that’s a real thing…I had to look it up too.) Early partners in the initiative include social platforms such as Digg, Delicious, Reddit, Slashdot, TypePad, Vkontakte, and Gigya among others. Of course Google’s own social platforms, Google+, Blogger, and Google Groups are included as well. Noticeably absent from the list are social media moguls like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn who have yet to buy into the new Googley idea of a Social Data Hub.
If you’re scratching your head wondering how this is different than Google just trying to get more of the world’s data, you’re not alone. At first glance this may seem like yet another big enterprise ploy to get more data (and oh yeah, Don’t be evil). Well, I see this as a huge win for marketers, bloggers, publishers and anyone else trying to discern the impact of social media marketing across the multitude of channels and platforms available today. Currently, most marketers are forced to evaluate their social media activities through the lens that the platform (or their social monitoring tool) offers. Typically this yields low-hanging counting metrics which can be of some value, but more often than not end up as isolated bits of information that don’t provide business value.
Getting at this all important business value in many cases requires wrangling the metrics into another system, processing data and just generally working hard to gain some incremental insight. This is laborious work for the average marketer, so it’s no wonder that eConsultancy just reported that 41% of marketers surveyed had no idea what their return on investment was for social media spending in 2011. Yikes!
Google’s new Social Data Hub – coupled with Google’s Social Analytics reporting – has the potential to knock the socks off these unknowing marketers. By aggregating data from multiple social platforms into the Social Data Hub, they have the ability to make comparisons across platforms to show which channels are driving referrals, which are generating the most interactions, and which are potentially not worth investing in. It’s not that big of a stretch to imagine Google linking this information to data within their Google Analytics product such as Adwords, Goal completion rates and cool new flow visualizations. If/when Google applies the lens of their analytics tool to this new aggregated data set, look out marketers — you just hit the jackpot! Of course, I’m speculating here, but the possibilities are intriguing for a Social Analytics geek like me. That is of course, if platforms open their APIs to the Social Data Hub. A big if…
So Why Would a Platform buy into the Social Data Hub?
Well, it’s questionable if Facebook ever will opt in for this system so I wouldn’t hold your breath on that one. However for other social platforms, being part of the hub has some distinct advantages. They get to prove their value by partnering up with one of the only solutions on the Web that is capable of providing real comparative data on the performance of social channels.
This is a no-brainer for fledgling platforms that want to increase their visibility and even for established players, opting into Google Social Hub could mean the difference in gaining advertising dollars from skeptical marketers. While the big dogs in social media may take a while to come around, I see this new Hub as a potentially great equalizer for understanding the impact of social media as it relates to referrals for on-site activities which can ultimately lead to conversions and bottom line impact.
While today’s announcement may be just a small ripple in the social media pond, I see big waves building for Marketers. But that’s just my take on the disruptive and revolutionary force that is Google…
If you want in on the action, here’s a link to request access to the private beta for Google’s Social Analytics Reporting: https://services.google.com/fb/forms/socialpilot/
And here’s one to for platforms to join the Social Data Hub: http://code.google.com/apis/analytics/docs/socialData/socialOverview.html
Social media technologies are massively confusing today. Not because they aren’t powerful or capable of substantially benefitting your organization, but because there are so many to choose from…
During my research while writing my book, Social Media Metrics Secrets (Wiley, 2011) and through countless interviews with social media practitioners and leading vendors in the industry, I developed a categorization schema for understanding social media technologies. I call this the Social Media Technology Spectrum. Across this spectrum, there are five primary functions that businesses can accomplish with social media technologies:
Discover > Analyze > Engage > Facilitate > Manage
While, I go into great detail about each category in the book, I’ll offer an overview here:
The Discovery Tools (Social Search) Discovery tools are social media solutions that effectively act as search engines for social media channels and platforms. Typically, Social Search technologies are freely available, but they don’t allow you to save search queries, download data or export results. Example Discover vendors include: SocialMention, IceRocket, Backtweets, Topsy, and hundreds more.
The Analysis Technologies (Social Analytics) These tools are most commonly associated with listening platforms, but in my view, Social Analytics vendor requirements include: filters, segments, visualizations and ultimately analysis. Example Analyze vendors include: Alterian SM2, Omniture SocialAnalytics, Radian6, Sysomos, and many more.
The Engagement Platforms (Engagement/Workflow) Vendors in this category extend their Social Analytics capabilities to include workflow delegation and engagement capabilities from directly within the interface, it places more controls at the fingertips of your internal business users. Example Engage vendors include: Crimson Hexagon, Hootsuite, Objective Marketer, Collective Intellect, and many more.
The Hosting and Facilitation Tools (Social Platforms) If you need to offer your community a social media destination like a user group, a forum, or a designated social media website. That’s where the Social Facilitation technologies provide a platform that can facilitate the conversation, the dialogue and the learning experience. Example Facilitate vendors include: Mzinga, Pluck, Ning, Lithium, Jive, Telligent and many more.
The Management Solutions (Social Management) This group of technology offerings includes social customer relationship management tools, internal collaboration solutions, and social media aggregation services that enable businesses to manage their social media efforts in an orchestrated way. Example Manage vendors include: BatchBook, Flowtown, Salesforce Chatter, Yammer and many more.
As you can see, each category has associated vendors. While there is certainly some cross-over here, there is also a lot more depth to each of the categories. For each category, you can delve deeper by specific social media channel (i.e., there’s a whole cast of Social Analytics tools specifically for Twitter). Yet, in a technology environment that is so cluttered with options and new entrants, I feel that some categorization is merited.
But what do you think? … Am I on the right track here? Do you use technologies from multiple categories? …What did I miss?
This content originally posted on the ClickZ Marketing News & Expert Advice website on July 14, 2011.
In my experience, I’ve found that the vast majority of practitioners measuring social media currently rely on the wrong metrics. Metrics such as fans, followers, +1′s, shares, likes, and dislikes are easily captured and readily delivered by social networks, but they represent merely the low-hanging fruit of social analytics. These are the “counting metrics” of social media because using them typically equates to counting up digital trivia. Effective measurers of social media go beyond counting metrics to create outcome-based metrics and ultimately report on business value metrics to senior stakeholders across the enterprise. In this column, I’ll elaborate on the minutia of counting metrics and where they can add value to your social media operations, as well as how to take the next step of creating outcome and business value metrics to ratchet up your social analytics game to the next level.
Testing the Social Media Waters
The temptation for businesses to experiment with social media is practically irresistible. And in fact, you’d be foolish not to venture into new and emerging channels if your target audience leads you there. But experimentation and ongoing participation in social media must continually prove out the potential for business value. Often times, this potential is demonstrated in metrics that are indicative of volume and activity. Counting metrics do just that because they are measures that tell you how deep the social media pool really is. These counting metrics are typically the freebies offered by social media networks that quantify the basic observational statistics of participation. The stats include: number of users, number of fans, number of followers, number of posts, number of comments per post, number of check-ins, number of ratings, number of reviews…and so on. You quickly see that there’s numbers on top of numbers.
Yet, stopping at this point and using only counting metrics to measure and manage social media is not only just plain lazy, but also detrimental to your business. These metrics are important for gauging the health and activity of your social media operations, but they fail to tell you if you’re achieving your business goals. Counting metrics can offer insights into how many people are swimming and if the water is too cold, or just right. They can also tell you how many people you are reaching with your social media messages and if your content is worthy of passing on to their friends and followers. But, what counting metrics cannot tell you is who the lifeguards should be watching, and where management needs to focus their efforts. Thus, it’s imperative that you go beyond the counting metrics offered by social media platforms to formulate outcome metrics that constitute real measures of success.
Identifying Outcome Metrics for Social Media Measurement
Stepping away from the pool for a moment, I ask you to consider why you’re participating in social media in the first place. Are you working to build awareness for your new products or services? Do you want to initiate a dialogue with your customers to solicit their input on what you could be doing more effectively? Are you building goodwill with consumers by giving back through social media and encouraging philanthropy? Or, can you increase your profits by selling directly through social media platforms? The answers to these questions reveal the business outcomes that you should be working towards when participating in social media. It’s only when you have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish with your social media efforts that you can develop truly effective measures of success. If you can’t pinpoint why you’re participating in social media today, or if your answers are flimsy and won’t stand up to the scrutiny of executive leadership, I strongly advise that you stop everything and rethink your efforts.
However, if you have a strategic vision of what you’re trying to accomplish with social media, then developing your outcome metrics will become a much easier task. For example, if gaining exposure is the outcome that you are after, then metrics like reach, velocity, and share of voice will be extremely helpful in determining your progress toward this outcome. Similarly, if you’re working to foster a dialogue with customers, focus on metrics like audience engagement, key influencers, and trending topics. Or if cold hard cash is what you’re after, then metrics like social referral source, cost per acquisition, conversion rates, and average order value will illuminate progress toward your stated social media outcomes. Each of these metrics tells you how well you’re doing according to plan and reveals valuable business information.
Demonstrating Social Media Business Value
Now that you’re straight on using counting metrics for sizing up opportunities and outcome metrics for quantifying purpose, the next step is tying all this together to communicate your fabulous progress. To do this, you need to detach yourself from the metrics that you use everyday to manage your social operations and translate these granular metrics into more generalized business language. Think carefully about the things that matter to your organization and the stakeholders that oversee the business and communicate in ways that resonate with them. In most cases, this means aligning your business objectives with corporate goals. Demonstrate which social media channels are contributing to new customer acquisition, which are adding dollars to the corporate coffers, or which are elevating customer satisfaction. This takes some skill and corporate savvy to indoctrinate non-believers into the world of social media metrics, but it’s an entirely worthwhile endeavor that will pay dividends for your organization in the long run.
I’ve found that the most effective way to present a strategic plan and communicate your successes using metrics is to leverage a framework for social media measurement. The one I use includes an inside-out strategy that begins with corporate goals, then aligns business objectives, maps these to measures of success, and then extends out to operational tactics. Using this framework allows me to solicit feedback from stakeholders by actually including them in the planning process of developing social media programs. This encourages participation and gives everyone involved a vested interest in the success of social media endeavors. Ultimately, your social media metrics should build from the basic counting metrics to outcome-based objectives that wholly support your corporate goals. Once you have a solid plan and a strategic roadmap for how you’ll stitch this all together, then you’re ready to dive into the deep end of the social media pool.
I’ve been playing around a bit with scheduling my Tweets and thought that I’d share some of my findings with you. But first, I’ll riff a bit on the fragility of this nascent channel and Twitter’s amazing rise to prominence as the 3rd largest social network in this universe. The figure I’m using for scale is 145 million registered users, which came straight from the Twitter CEO, Evan Williams back in November, 2010. But, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if another 55 million users joined in the past 5 months. That’s the number that’s being bandied about today.
With ad revenues estimated at $45 million and projections escalating at a 3x clip this year, Twitter is rocketing unequivocally skyward. The only problem with attaining massive growth with user populations rivaling the number of people residing in Brazil, is that Tweets are extremely perishable. If you aren’t watching, listening or searching for a Tweet, it’s highly likely that it will slip right past an entire country of users without ever being noticed. That’s a problem. It’s bad because it seriously erodes any value proposition of time or dollars invested in the channel. Thus, the argument for scheduling Tweets.
The best research I’m reading about Twitter is coming from Sysmos, where they continue to crank out valuable insights. Back in September, 2010, they found that the average lifespan of a Tweet is about an hour. Sysomos discovered that 92.4% of Retweets happen within one hour after publication and 96.9% of @replies occur within the first hour. This means if your Tweet isn’t circulated after 60 minutes, it’s likely a goner. Of course there are numerous tools that allow you to automate this process. And that’s what I’ve been exploring. Even the most pedestrian Twitter clients now allow you to schedule your 140 character missives for posting at a later time.
What are the drawbacks of scheduling Tweets?
Scheduling Tweets is a tenuous business. For the most part, you should be Tweeting to deliver good content, but also to initiate a dialogue with your followers. If you’re out on the golf course and your Tweets are generating a firestorm of activity, who’s going to respond? Be cognizant of this fact when scheduling Tweets, because if your Tweet gains velocity and lots of people hear it, you better be at the ready to engage. If not, you’ll quickly lose credence as a friendly human and instead come off looking like a bit of a bot yourself. For this reason alone, if you’re planning to schedule Tweets, do so with considered caution and release news or informative Tweets purely to gain exposure. You don’t want to provoke a dialogue when you’re not ready to interact.
Who offers Tweet scheduling?
This isn’t meant to be a full and comprehensive review of Tweet scheduling tools. These are just a few that I’ve used personally, and my observations of each. I look forward to hearing what you think about Tweet scheduling and which tools if any you use. I’ll commit to updating my list as you offer more…
Tweetdeck – Ahh…my first real Twitter client and a darn good one at that. It’s iconic black interface offers de facto functionality and does so with a fine polish. (I’ve tried to use the “light” interface but just can’t make the switch). Tweetdeck is lightning fast with Tweets posted in real-time. But more to the point, they allow users to schedule Tweets in the future by simply selecting the date and time of your desired launch.
Hootsuite – This little freemium gem is quickly becoming my go-to Twitter client. Despite their recent service outage (which wasn’t really their fault), It’s winning me over with the multi-tabbed interface, multi-user efficiency and slick stream views. Hootsuite allows users to pre-schedule Tweets as well, with the option to select the date and time and receive an email when your 140 character missive flies.
Crowdbooster – I gained access to this product only recently and have been intrigued since my first login. This beauty not only allows you to schedule Tweets, but also recommends the best times to give a shout out. I really like that they deliver an explanation of why specific times are best for Tweeting based on when my followers are active and when I’ve gained the greatest reach. Crowdbooster also has the best charting I’ve seen yet from a Tweet scheduling interface that reveals which Tweets attained reach…and RT’s and @replies as well. I’m having fun with this freemium tool and may even upgrade.
Timely.is – Here’s an interesting new app, that I learned about recently. It uses an algorithm to Tweet when your message is likely to reach the largest audience. Currently, they don’t provide any visibility into how they make this determination, but you can override it by forcing the Tweet to send within the next 30minutes. While they do offer a few cheesy “suggested” tweets, this tool is a product of Flowtown and I’ve been waiting to see what these guys bring out of their private beta. This is definitely one to watch.
Buffer – Buffer offers a slick user interface allowing users to schedule Tweets across a number of recommended times. It has links to the Bit.ly API, but requires premium access to utilize this function. Yet, the free version delivers solid capabilities and collaboration functions for adding additional team members. Perhaps the easiest function is the Chome browser extension that enables you to schedule a Tweet directly from a webpage. This makes scheduling convenient and will be helpful in getting to word out on those juicy bits you discover during non-peak times.
LaterBro – Yo, bro…I haven’t actually tried this one yet, but its interface is simple and clean. I trust it works just fine for planning ahead.
Since drafting this blog post has taken beyond my optimal Tweeting window, I’m signing off now. But before I do, here’s a few more Tweet schedulers that I haven’t tried yet. I’m sure there’s a whole lot more too.
What do you use for scheduling Tweets and what do you like about it? Curious minds want to know.
I’ve noticed something recently that appears to be a burgeoning trend, and I don’t like it. Startups dangling the promise of exclusivity and early admission to their private beta parties in exchange for wielding your influence to “Spread the Word”. Pssst…”The more friends you invite, the sooner you’ll get access!” C’mon! If your product is good, people are going to use it and talk ab￼out it. Don’t patronize me with your bad Charlie Sheen references and generic html. This is lazy social media marketing in my opinion. And its a tactic that I won’t pander to.
However, it’s not nearly as bad as hitting submit on a digital form only to realize that the teeny-tiny checkbox in the bottom left hand corner, yeah…the one you didn’t UN-check?? Well, they opted you right into Tweeting to your entire following that you just signed up for the latest whatever on Twitter. These sneaky little broadcast methods are cheap trix and I say you marketers should be ashamed of yourselves.
I’ll keep this rant short, but influence is and will be a contributing factor in the success of many social marketing activities. Yet, as with all things social, leveraging influence must be genuine. Blatant solicitation of influence is only adding to the derision of influencer metrics and the narcissists who work to game the system. The real value of your influencers will pay dividends when they choose to talk about your products and services unprovoked. Doing it otherwise is a surefire way to usurp the power of the influencers you’re trying to enlist.
Omniture’s SocialAnalytics offering won’t be publicly available until summer of this year, but the early glimpses show big promise for the burgeoning field of SocialAnalytics. What makes this tool different from the many capable tools already out on the market is the tight integration of web analytics data with social brand or keyword mentions. This means that you can collect and analyze data from major social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube (45 data social media sources in total) and perform web analytics style slicing and dicing on the results.
Yet, the beauty of this solution is that users can trend and analyze social metrics against any metric within the SiteCatalyst interface. Further, the SocialAnalytics offering allows users to correlate data from social media with SiteCatalyst metrics and even offers a percentage of statistical confidence. This exceeds what I’ve seen in any other social analytics offering currently on the market. To illustrate with a hypothetical example, the Omniture SocialAnalytics capabilities will allow you to imbed traditional SiteCatalyst campaign ID codes into a your social media marketing on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, which could all be monitored for activity within the SiteCatalyst interface. You could then trend the social data from campaigns and mentions against any metrics that you currently use within SiteCatalyst such as visitors or conversions. Thus, you could monitor the impact of your social marketing as a driver for website traffic and determine what percentage of that traffic actually purchased online as a result of the social campaign. The tool does this by making a correlation (versus actually pinning causation), but the statistical confidence will deliver assurance as to the validity of the correlation. This is magical. It actually enables users to quantify ROI from social marketing activities with a degree of statistical confidence. No one else has this that I’m aware of today.
Further, one of my pet peeves with today’s social analytics tools is the inability to create custom metrics. In most cases, you have to deal with the formulas and calculations that vendors deliver. The exception here is firms like Radian6 that allow users to weight factors for calculated metrics like Influence, whereby users do have some controls over their metrics. Yet, Omniture’s SocialAnalytics allows users carte blanche ability to create custom metrics and report on them within SiteCatalyst and even leverage in report builder and other Omniture functions. This is a revolutionary step in controlling the way that social is currently measured because it introduces a level of customization that was formerly absent.
While, it’s still early days and this was only my first glimpse at the product, you can probably tell that I’m bullish already. It’s currently in private beta for a few lucky Omniture customers who will undoubtedly bang away at it and help to shape the future of this product. However, there’s still a long way to go before this new tool is street legal, so most Omniture users will have to wait until the general release this summer. I’ll also say that this tool currently does not offer a wholesale replacement for Radian6 or other enterprise social analytics vendors on the market. The primary reason for this is that there is no engagement capability from the interface (i.e., can’t send Tweets or respond to Facebook comments directly). Additionally, there is no workflow built into the SocialAnalytics solution either. Thus, while social is about the interaction between a brand and its customers, Omniture is still leaving its clients to work that out using other means. They do however deliver some of the most robust analysis and reporting capabilities of anyone out there. If you’re looking to make sense of social media and measure the impact it has on your business operations; I suggest you give Omniture’s new SocialAnalytics tool a good look.
I’m a little worried about us. At first I was really psyched to see a tweet about my friend and business partner Eric appearing the the WSJ for his not-so-small side project, Twitalyzer. I eagerly clicked through from Tweetdeck to read all about the great strides that Twitalyzer was making in the marketplace only to be massively disappointed by the article, Wannabe Cool Kids Aim to Game the Web’s New Social Scorekeepers. This article is all about gaming the social system to increase influence scores from services like Klout and Twitalyzer and to personally benefit from doing so. Is this what we’re training kids to aspire towards today?
Have you Googled yourself lately…?
Okay, just admit it. At one point of another you’ve typed your own name into to Google just to see what shows up. Or perhaps, if you’re like me you’ve even created a proactive alert that informs you every time you or your business is mentioned in media outlets? It’s not that I’m vain, but I want to know when something or someone publishes about me or about our brand. Isn’t this the cost of putting yourself out there today? Social media has accelerated this exponentially.
I don’t fault people like the ones described in the WSJ article for working to improve their social influence scores as long as they’re genuine. It’s smart to understand how rankings are formulated and how you can improve your scores. That makes the difference between individuals who are building their personal brands with an entrepreneurial drive and those who simply aren’t tuned in enough to know how. Done right, that’s commendable. But understanding the system and rigging it to your favor is potentially where we’re headed in this age of social media. It’s an environment where your potential employer will check your Facebook page prior to extending that job offer; and they definitely will follow your Tweets after that offer is extended; and you can bet on the fact that they’ll be watching your social escapades after you’re hired to ensure that you don’t misconstrue ideas that are yours alone with those of your employer. Or heaven forbid you’re passed over for a consulting job because of a low Twitalyzer score, like the story Shel Israel foretells. But, this is business today, I just wonder if we’re encouraging an unhealthy level of narcissism?
What’s your Social Media Credit Score…?
One of the topics I’ve been researching lately is Social Media Profile Management. This started with the whitepaper that I authored for Unica called, True Profiles: A Contemporary Method for Managing Customer Data (download the paper next week) where I explored what it takes to integrate data streams from disparate sources. Yet, while that’s happening on the business side, consumers are in desperate need of managing their own social profiles. Services like Rapleaf, PeerIndex, Klout and Twitalyzer all reinforce the need to know how you’re portrayed as an individual in social circles and how much personal information about you is floating around out there.
Brian Solis talks about this as well in his compelling Lift presentation where he describes the sociology and psychology behind what we do in social media. He mentions that debt collectors are now visiting individual’s Facebook pages to track them down and sometimes publicly humiliate them into paying their debts. That’s absolutely frightening! But it’s a reality of the world we live in.
Managing your social credit score is important and undoubtedly we’ll see a burgeoning slew of services like Identity Mixer and others that allow you to manage what appears in the databases of companies like Spokeo.com and whitepages.com for all to see. You’re already being indexed, ranked and reported on whether you like it or not. I just can’t help from wondering if the way we (or at least some people) operate with the aid social profile management technologies is disingenuous?
What Should You Recommend To Your Business…?
Those of you who know anything about Web Analytics Demystified recognize that we’re not ones to take data and simply gaze at it in wonderment. We use data to make recommendations. More importantly, we encourage you to do this as well. So for all the measurers of social media out there, take into deep consideration the value you place on influence. I do believe that it’s a meaningful metric and I am optimistic about < foreshadowing > new developments on the horizon from Social Analytics vendors in this area < /foreshadowing >, yet you have to understand what your metrics are made of and how they’re calculated.
That’s the thing that irked me most about the WSJ article was that it implied in the subtitle that all the vendors out there keep their influence rankings secret. Twitalyzer doesn’t do this, in fact they expose all of the factors that go into their calculated metrics for all to see. While some metrics within the Twitalyzer dashboard do rely on scores from other technologies like PeerIndex and Klout, they’re labeled as such with nothing secret about them. I’m not bringing this up to tout the greatness of Twitalyzer, but more so to call out the fact that transparency in the metrics you use and rely on is critically important.
Hopefully, most of you are migrating away from counting measures like fans and followers that offer little more than a measure from an uncalibrated yardstick and adopting business value metrics that actually mean something to your organization. If you are working toward this end — and if influence is a measure that will factor into your marketing efforts — then take the time to see through inflated scores and popularity hounds that are gaming the system. It’s likely that you don’t want these people doing your bidding anyhow. Instead, use measures of success like Impact to correlate influence to action. When you begin to look at your social marketing efforts in this way, you may just find that those with the most “popular” profiles aren’t actually good for your business.
I’ve been awaiting this day with eager anticipation for some time now because we are finally releasing our paper on Social Marketing Analytics. Several months ago Eric Peterson and I started talking with Jeremiah and Altimeter Group about the issues facing social marketers. Despite the red hot flames trailing anything with the word social in it, the outlook for effectively measuring the effects of social marketing initiatives in a meaningful way was somewhat grim.
A lack of standardization, reckless experimentation, and unanswered calls for accountability were plaguing businesses who were working in earnest to embark on their social marketing activities. After some intense discussions and some creative thinking, we decided to collaborate on a research project that would leverage social media strategy from Altimeter Group and digital measurement rigor from Web Analytics Demystified. The result is a framework for measuring social media that we’re happy to share with you today. If you’re into this stuff, please drop us a note or give a call to get involved in the conversation.
Introducing the Social Media Measurement Framework
There’s no denying that social media is the hottest sensation sweeping the globe today. Yet, marketers must see past the shiny object that is social media and start applying a pragmatic approach to measuring their efforts in the social space. We developed a framework that starts with a strategy that requires solid business objectives. From there, specific measures of success – that we call Key Performance Indicators – provide a standardized method for quantifying performance.
Mapping Business Objectives to KPIs
Our report identifies four social business objectives that include: Foster Dialog, Promote Advocacy, Facilitate Support and Spur Innovation. While, there may be others that apply to your business, we view these as a solid foundation for beginning the measurement process. In the report we align KPIs to these social business objectives and offer real formulas for calculating success.
The Social Business Objectives and Associated KPIs are:
- Foster Dialog: Share of Voice, Audience Engagement, Conversation Reach
- Promote Advocacy: Active Advocates, Advocate influence, Advocate Impact
- Facilitate Support: Resolution Rate, Resolution Time, Satisfaction Score
- Spur Innovation: Topic Trends, Sentiment Ratio, Idea Impact
We encourage you to download the full report here to get the complete context and actual formulas for these KPIs.
Note: This report was a collaborative effort by Web Analytics Demystified and Altimeter Group and as such there are two versions of this report. The content is identical, yet we each published under our own letterhead.
This is Open Research…
We made a conscious decision not to accept sponsors for this research and to produce it entirely at our own expense so that we could offer a genuine launching pad for social media measurement to the industry. However, this research would not have been possible without numerous contributions from social media and measurement visionaries. We thank them in the report, but it’s worth mentioning that these contributors helped illuminate the big picture of the challenges and opportunities associated with measuring social. We’re publishing this work under a Creative Commons License Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States and encourage practitioners, vendors and consultants to adopt our framework and use it in measuring social media.
We also want to be realistic about this body of work and acknowledge that it does not answer all questions regarding the measurement of social activities. Our hope is that it offers a solid jumping off point for getting started and that each of you in the community will modify and make contributions to improve this method of measurement. We can assure you that we’ll be listening to to your feedback and will continue to update our knowledge based your feedback on this work.
Want to Contribute or Learn More?
Jeremiah and I will be conducting a webcast on June 3rd to reveal the gritty details behind the strategy and framework. Join us by registering here: Attend the no-cost webinar on Social Media Measurement.
We encourage you to embed the Slideshare link into your own sites and I’ll link to others that extend the conversation here as well.
For more white papers from Web Analytics Demystified, click here. Or to instantly download a PDF of this Social Marketing Analytics report click this GET IT NOW link.
Jeremiah Owyang, my co-author, on the Web-Strategist blog
The Altimeter Group blog posting
Social market analytics: the dark side? Posted by Dennis Howlett
Shel Holtz also recognizes “The haphazard means by which we are monitoring and measuring social media…”
cjlambert’s posterous gives us a “like” but remains skeptical on the concept that media can be measured comprehensively
Geoffroi Garon takes the report to his French speaking audience.
Marshall Sponder includes us in his Social Analytics Web Journal write-up. Marshall is also working to implement our KPIs with one of his clients. Here’s Part 1 of his multi-part series.
Kenneth Yeung delivers a fantastic synopsis of our 25 page report with once concise post on his blog, The Digital Letter, with a follow-up post here.
Research Live offered a brief write-up of the research.
@Scobleizer tweeted us! Woot!
Chelsea Nakano references our research in her ambitious post titled Everything You Need to Know About Social Media Marketing.
Lisa Barone of Outspoken Media gives us a shout out. Lisa was also an influencer that we interviewed for the research.
Christopher Berry delivers great questions and thoughts on the research in his Eyes on Analytics blog.