The Truth About Social Media Measurement

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Kelley is the lead on marketing and social sales strategy at The Honey Bee Company and Digital Marketing Instructor at GA in NYC.

One of the biggest challenges that marketers face—whether coming from a Fortune 500 or a scrappy startup—is how to measure the effectiveness of their social media efforts. This challenge is often answered with elaborate dashboards, data visualization maps and obscure metrics that are so complex no one in the room can understand—including the presenter.  The aforementioned charts, graphs, and maps may look pretty (and keep agencies employed), but they leave us lost.  And the problem perpetuates because marketers, more so than most other professionals, never admit when we’re lost.

Because the truth is, there is no clear-cut way to measure social media.

The way you measure social media varies by your type business, industry, size and focus. What’s more, social media metrics constantly change as social media platforms uncover new behaviors and activities that brands can “measure.” Basically, everyone is building the plane while they’re flying.

The best thing you can do for a brand on social media is to stay focused on what social media means for your business, and your business alone.

Because the truth is the only solution to this problem is to make better goals going in…

Why are you on social media? It sounds so simple, but this is the most important—and unfortunately most neglected—question. Many of us, large and small companies alike, are guilty of the same thing. We dive into the latest and coolest social media trend before even understanding how it works, much less, how it can drive business goals and objectives. Not every social media platform is right for every brand.  Just because your teenage daughter is on Snapchat, doesn’t mean your product or service has to be, as well—unless your teenage daughter is your target market, of course.

Because the truth is you shouldn’t focus on social media metrics or activities that don’t get your business where it needs to go.

Your business goals and objectives for social should not be to get 1 million followers. Most brands with millions of followers have paid millions of dollars to acquire them and don’t get any engagement or satisfaction from the people they’ve bought, other than being able to say they have a ton of followers. Are you using social media to drive brand awareness? To improve customer engagement? To deliver better customer service? To identify stronger leads and shorten sales cycles?

When you think through this lens, you won’t be in crisis mode every time Facebook changes their algorithm and you’re unable to reach the million or so people who clicked “like” on your page after being coerced by an ad. You should be tying your social media activities to metrics that help you reach long-term business goals and not satisfy short-term goals or social media-only goals. At the end of the day, it’s about driving revenue.

Because the truth is you should, however, leverage the right social media metrics to make sure you are going in the right direction.

Using the responsive and rapid nature of social media and the oceans of big data it yields can definitely be a lifesaver. For example, a consistent decline in impressions or reach can be an indicator that you may need to re-evaluate your paid media strategy. An increase in negative mentions on Twitter may give way to a glitch on your app or website that needs your immediate attention. Use social media metrics to analyze behaviors and activities to provide you with insights that will help you build out a more thoughtful and successful marketing strategy.

Remember with big data, comes big responsibility. Avoid marketer’s remorse. Make sure that when you get on social you are driving the right goals and the right metrics for your business.

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As the lead on marketing and social sales strategy at The Honey Bee Company, Kelley helps connect educators and parents to the tools that they need to ensure a bright future for the next generation. Prior to this role, she served as Assistant Vice President of Social Media at JP Morgan Chase, where she led the social content strategy for Chase Community Giving—one of the largest social properties at the firm with over 3.7 million followers across all platforms. Kelley has a strong background in social marketing and communications, with experience at companies such as Walgreen Co., Discover Financial Services, and American Express. She has also taught social marketing strategy for General Assembly and for Social Media Week. When she’s not focused on digital marketing, you can often find her testing new recipes in her kitchen and volunteering her time with pipeline building projects such as Black Girls Code. She also serves as an Advisory Board Member for FOCUS100, a startup boot camp and symposium that connects thought leaders, investors and tech startups founded or co-founded by black women.