The Key to Happy Social Media Measurement
Peter Panda

There are two primary types of marketing. Brand marketing is all about getting more people to know who you are, to understand what problem you solve and to perhaps connect with you on some level as a valued resource. Direct response marketing is that which presents a call-to-action to do something (typically buy, click, register or download.)

Social media marketing can be used for both, but it is probably best suited for brand marketing. You provide useful content and engagement to an audience, their trust in you grows and you create a relationship that makes you top-of-mind when they are ready to purchase whatever it is you sell.  It’s about laying the foundation so, when the moment arrives when they are in purchase mode, they’re more likely to purchase from you.

Why is it then that we accept clients or executives who insist we report social media marketing success in terms of return on investment (ROI)?

If your goal is brand marketing, your measures of success include metrics like:

  • Number of impressions
  • Audience members reached
  • Number of messaging mentions
  • Increase in positive conversations
  • Decrease in negative conversations

None of those are reported in terms of financial metrics.  

If you or members of your organization are frustrated with what you’re getting out of social media, perhaps you should make sure that your measures are in line with your goals. My guess is that 75% of our measurement frustrations in social media today are centered on the fact we’re trying to force direct response metrics on brand marketing efforts.

Gut check your measures and see if that is the case for you. If so, realign your measurement systems to measure the thing you’re actually trying to achieve. I guarantee you the frustrations will begin to fade away if you do.

Peter Panda

Pioneering social media panda bear Tagawa “Peter” Panda was born on a Chinese game reserve in 1969. He emigrated to the United States in 1987 speaking no English, with only the fur on his back and $97 stored in a Jansport fanny-pack wrapped around his waist.

In 2003 while searching for food on the campus of Washington University, he discovered a computer lab where he would ultimately teach himself web development, graphic design, and immerse himself into the growing digital media evolution that was erupting at the time.

With his trademark surly demeanor developed during beatings on his boat ride from China to the U.S., as well as having a penchant for eating vast quantities of bamboo, and enjoying Scotch and cigars, Peter is broadly recognized for coining the phrase “social media” in 2004. He joined Elasticity in late 2009 as the agency’s director of social media strategy and wildlife relations. Friend him on Facebook here.

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