ComMetrics weekly review: Your social media report to the bosses

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2011/01/24 · 18 comments 9,351 views

in a analysis: gaining insights,e marketing 101 social media trendwatch

Key performance indicators (KPIs) include actionable metrics that help you measure social media activities in ways that trigger actions. Those actions will hopefully help improve such operating metrics as customer complaints or returns.

This week I came across an interesting blog post by Devon Warwick that talked about using social media metrics when preparing your quarterly report for top management:

Learn more about how SMART metrics and KPIs can help you get your board to understand and support social media activities.

    Rule 1: The usual fare will not do

Image - 2011-01-20 - @Natalief tweet - Good one! RT @commetrics Which social media metric is the most important one in your work? http://linkd.in/hcRIx8While I recommend that you grab low-hanging fruit like page views or unique vis­i­tors, these can be misleading.

Tip 1: Provide the executive with a trend analysis, such as comparing the fourth quarter of 2010 with the same quarter from previous years. BUT, do not infer or deduce too much meaning from such numbers, since neither indicates more sales or fewer customer returns.

    Rule 2: Difficult metrics are not necessarily the right ones

A sta­tus update on search engine rank­ing for tar­geted key­words (e.g., what is used most often, etc.), a list of major sites/thought lead­ers that pro­moted your blog posts and so forth are more time-consuming to collect and measure than page views, but that does not always mean they are correspondingly useful.

Tip 2: Having a ‘major’ website or blog link to one of your posts or tweets is great. Nevertheless, this could simply be chance and hard to repeat, so keep your nose to the grindstone and frequently take many small steps to get you there faster. Waiting for the giant leap or link from BBC World that never materializes might not be a good strategy.

    Rule 3: Those feel-good metrics could lead you down a dangerous path

Image - 2011-01-20 - @jprhamster tweet - Insightful as always! RT @ComMetrics: 3 steps to a better Quora experience http://bit.ly/hmNQUT Does having 60 percent of your employees blog have a more positive effect than 20 percent? And do lessons learned interest your management committee? Instead, it could be that getting their attention is much easier when discussing the last PR crisis and how you managed it.

If everybody tweets we might be proud of our staff. However, unless these tweets or blog posts are of real value to your target audience (i.e. current and potential customers crave your famous checklists), why should we care about this metric?

Tip 3: There is no perfect method for ranking social media except trial and error, along with a realization that perfection is impossible and good enough is all you can hope for in the real world.

    Bottom line and take-aways

No matter what metric you develop, unless there is a link between it and some key drivers/operating metrics such as calls to your client hotline, why should top management care?

Watching the trends is your best bet, but not necessarily by financial quarters, since comparing July, August and September 2010 to 2011 makes little sense in the northern hemisphere, where most people vacation during that time. Your traffic will drop, but since the trend is what matters, remember to look ahead as well.

Taking a page from the book of financial crises
Revenues are the most important drivers or operating metrics for financial institutions and other businesses. Of course, a critical actionable metric that helps explain why net revenues may be lower than expected – or understand the ‘why’ behind a result – is the amount of money paid out as compensation, usually in the form of bonuses.

Image - graphic - The world’s largest investment banks are setting aside a bigger slice of their revenues to pay staff - in spite of lower profits - and bankers’ fat bonus pay-outs have bounced back amid protests and ongoing backlash - FT 2011-01-10 p. 17:  Investment banking pay and bonuses, Q1-Q3 2010.

By the way, I drafted and submitted a comment to Devon Warwick’s blog, but it failed to show up, so I sent an email. Unfortunately, I got no reply.

This experience reinforced what I already knew – in order to foster engagement, you must do two things:

    1. Go the extra mile by checking your spam queue for false-positives.
    2. Reply to all inquiries from your readers.

These actions will help further improve engagement metrics for any blog, not just Devon’s.

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If you like this post, please share it with your friends. How about asking them to comment after reading, I love to hear what people think!

Are you with me on these critical issues regarding actionable metrics and relating them to key drivers? Where do YOU see this going? Please leave a comment; the floor is yours!

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  • http://www.pr-hamster.com Jasper

    Good point about showing trends in a report to executives, though I do think its hard not too suggest positive or negative business outcomes when doing this. Even if you’re not deducting this explicitly, the reader of your report probably will :).nnAnyways, I would like to know what IS your favorite metric to use for a typical social media campaign?

    • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

      Jasper,nnthanks for commenting onu00a0Your social media report to the bosses. Your question:nn”…I would like to know what IS your favorite metric to use for a typical social media campaign?”nnis a very good one. u00a0However, I may not have the cookbook answer you were looking for.nnIn short, it all depends on the type of campaign we are talking about, for what kind of product in what organizational context and so on. u00a0All these factors will influence which metrics will suit us the most to achieve the campaign objectives the client has set for us.nnOf course we have the usual candidates, such as pageviews, unique visitors and so forth. u00a0Also re-tweets, replies and more if micro-blogging (e.g., on Twitter) is involved. u00a0I have outlined this in more detailed here:nnWhy the boss thinks 125,000 monthly pageviews mean failurennBut for me the easiest approach is to use theu00a0The social media cost-benefit pyramid for systematically figuring out what key metrics are of importance to management (e.g., calls to customer hotline, churn rate with subscribers, and so forth).nnOnce two of these critical metrics have been identified, it will be necessary to address how social media can help improve these numbers directly or indirectly if need be. Accordingly, u00a0if we launch a campaign to increase the Like(s) on our corporate Facebook page, the question is what the page will have to accomplish with these followers.nnHaving 1mio followers is great. But how will this affect our number and type of calls to customer hotline – will it help reduce the absolute number of calls, change the type of calls we get (e.g., now fewer complaints but more calls inquiring about the product).nnSo as the above illustrates, it all depends upon the factors described above what metric is the best one in a particular situation. The cookbook approach will not do.nnJasper, thanks so much for sharing and I hope to have you comment again soon.

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