Whether you’re selling loaves of bread or social media campaigns, the question always remains the same; “If I buy something from you, what do I get in return?”. A decade ago, I could get away with that by saying something like “it makes your product look cool” or “people will love your new approach”. That just won’t cut it anymore. Like it or not, we now do business in a time where everything can (or should) be measured, especially when it comes to technology or digital services. Clients now demand specific success or failure triggers, numbers that they can present to their bosses indicating success, which most people call KPIs. The point is that vague promises and statements aforementioned above are a thing of the past.
The Wonder Years
A few years back, social amplification was measured by merely the amount of posts you can get out there, as quick as you can, to as much people as as you can. Focus was mainly on amassing Twitter followers, Facebook friends and YouTube subscribers. Brands wanted to brag about how many followers they had, and agencies took advantage of this by giving them what they want – a whole lot of friends and followers. Everyone was happy and cash flow as healthy. This follower based economy is what also gave way to bulk follower and friend purchasing, or the quick way to build up your follower, “like” and “friend” base quickly, up until now. Anything too good to be true usually is, agencies and brands were actually amassing fake followers and friends.Some of the most famous examples were uncovered during the 2008 US election, where renowned politicians seemed to own an alarming number of bogus followers.
Quality Not Quantity
During the last couple of years, I’ve noticed the industry become more critical of social media campaign success indicators, while those who haven’t, indeed should. The era of brands competing in followers and page likes has come to an end, with focus shifting to interaction and conversion. What’s the good of a zillion followers if they don’t retweet your hashtags? Why have a million page likes if all the comments they leave are rubbish? Now it’s all about follower and friend quality and how brands and agencies can spark an intelligent reaction from them. How do we get them to take part in our activations? How do we convert them to buying customers? To answer these questions, you need the right data.
What Metrics Matter
All social media platforms offer a fair amount of insight into your followers and friends and it’s up to brands and their agencies to interpret this and come up with conclusions that make sense. Although each social media channel has differing terms and calculations, the unifying metrics can be simply put into 3: Posts, Interactions and reach. No matter what channel you look at, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and so on, everyone is always posting something, interacting with a post and passing it on to his friends or followers. Just by going over these three simple metrics, you can instantly tell how your campaign is doing, who’s engaging and how far it is impacting their followers.
If you have the right data enrichments, endless amounts of subsets can be created from the above. My personal favorite is a little thing called viral reach. On twitter, this indicates the potential impact or viral scale of a campaign by calculating the reach of retweets that occur, or simply summing up the amount of followers of each person that retweets a post. On Facebook and YouTube, the same can be achieved by calculating the collective amount of friends that share a post. Viral reach is a simple yet powerful number to see exactly how viral a campaign really went – in plain numbers. You can go the extra mile by adding sentiment to this to understand which way it went, viral negative or viral positive.
Viral reach is only one of the countless metrics that can be derived from enriched social data. I’ll be covering more important metrics and milestones in upcoming posts.
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