Measuring Social Media Marketing

tape measure In working with our various clients at New Marketing Labs, we like to start with measurement as it aligns to goals. We’re always excited that people want to work with us, but we also want to make sure their time isn’t wasted by simply “doing social media.”

To that end, we start with an understanding of our clients’ goals, and work from there into what kinds of measurements we might come up with to help them with their success. I don’t talk about specific clients (as that’s not part of our contract), but I’ll share the general way we’re going about working with clients in 2010, so that you can get a sense of how we’re doing what we do. (My goal is to open conversations about how social media can be used effectively as part of business communications, including marketing and channel development.)

Our 8 Questions

In working with clients, I have eight questions that I like to ask to get a sense of what we might be able to do to improve business:

  1. How can we fill your sales funnel?
  2. How can we improve engagement?
  3. How can we improve exposure and coverage?
  4. How are we empowering your community to interact?
  5. How do we grow sales from your community?
  6. How can we build a voice and a new stage for your ideas?
  7. How do we bridge your offline experiences with your online presence?
  8. How are we extending to the mobile environment?

These questions don’t always line up with what our clients are seeking for help, but they always get the conversation going in the direction of finding goals that will drive needles to move. Not all eight have to be answered, but you can see the measurements that would determine whether we’ve hit the mark on the above goals. Some are rooted in PR-type practice. Others are more marketing-minded. Still others are sales-focused. That’s intentional. I don’t purify when I work. I want the holistic approach. (Sometimes, this is an issue when dealing with clients, as they have one budget from which to pay us, and I often want to work on things that will improve other groups who aren’t paying.)

What We Seek for Each Engagement

Again, these aren’t hard, fast rules, but we try to build the following into every engagement:

  • Measurement (dashboard)
  • Methods (our approach)
  • Materials (people and digital resources)
  • Database (are we growing the client’s database/list?)
  • Effort (what goes into the project)
  • Education (we never give people fish)
  • Interfaces (which parts of the business do/can we touch)
  • Crisis (if something goes wrong, then what?)
  • Deep Wiring (can we build beyond just “marketing?”)

When building our projects, we seek to work more like partners and channel developers than an agency. We’re not there to come up with ideas and let others do all the work. We want to work side-by-side with our clients, and become partners in success. Having the above all answered helps us out in this regard.

But what about measuring?

Measurements

I’m fond of saying that my favorite measurement is the one with a dollar sign attached. I like helping companies find revenue. Barring that, or around that, we look at different measures for different projects. It depends on what the goals were, and the strategy we used to get there. Here are some sample measurements we’ve used at New Marketing Labs in the past:

This is is by NO MEANS inclusive of all the things we track.

  • % of online conversation (versus competitor).
  • % of coverage improvement.
  • # of new subscribers/attendees/buyers via tracking links.
  • # of new threads, comments, conversations for engagements.
  • # of actions taken (for instance, on email newsletters).
  • increase in $ per visitor, monthly average.
  • # of leads
  • # of sales call conversions
  • unique visitors (all those basic web metrics)
  • more

It depends what we’re aiming for as to what we can work on delivering. To me, there are dozens and dozens of other ways to do metrics. (Resources are below.)

So Far, So Good

Our goal when we launched NML was to help companies figure out how to be human at a distance and what it means for business communications, including sales, marketing, PR, customer service, and internal collaboration. We work like a lab. We try things, we experiment, we do things differently than the traditional teams that are out there. So far, we’ve had mostly good response for our efforts (no one gets 100% success).

I’m proud of the work we’ve done, and looking forward to what we’ve got ahead of us in 2010. In writing this up, I just wanted to talk a bit about how I think metrics and measurements can be attained for social media efforts. It’s not rocket surgery (to quote the smart Boston folks who coined that at IMS Boston). We find goals for our clients, we find ways to measure our efforts, and we work to succeed. Repeat as necessary. Make sense?

How about you? What are you doing? What’s your approach?

Want to see how others do metrics? Here’s a huge list from Robin Broitman.

Photo credit aussiegall

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