Social networks are unique in that they facilitate interaction with consumers in a common language and culture native to the platform.
These channels enable the creation and organic spread of magnetic content that attracts rather than distracts a consumer in a participatory mindset.
For brands, every Tweet, Like, or share is an opportunity to respond in real-time, amplifying positive sentiment or shifting negative perception.
Promoted Tweets and sponsored stories are accessible to consumers in the social context because they are in their native language.
Companies like Intel are making use of social channels to identify expressed consumer needs and fuel product innovation.
Clearly, measuring social with click metrics is not sufficient to capture all of its value. The power of social is the ability to adjust levers that effect brand equity in real-time.
So How Should We Measure Social?
Social media engagement has been described as a shift from clicks to comments.
ComScore set up the framework for social measurement in its latest research report, The Power of Like 2, “Brands should focus on benchmarking and optimizing fan reach, engagement and amplification.”
Reach and engagement are familiar metrics from online display, but the power (and associated risk) of social is in the potential for amplification. It’s the friction-free sharing that gives your consumer the power to bring down a brand with a Tweet, or increase loyalty exponentially with a status update.
Start With The Platform’s Tools
The native toolsets of the social platforms provide insight into organic reach, and dig into how you gained your followers over time with audience metrics by interest, geography, gender and engagement. This enables marketers to identify what types of content are resonating, and with whom, to optimize message penetration.
Facebook measures inline ad interactions such as fanning, photo views and video plays in real-time. Twitter measures @mentions, new followers and tracks trending topics. Each consumer action creates a feedback loop for companies to measure and optimize branded content, and shape the consumer voice to KPIs for lift, awareness, or sales.
In this way, content and advertising strategy are linked in an iterative process fueled by consumer insights. This looped process of content/ad creation and iteration based on engagement metrics has been dubbed “Agile Marketing,” borrowed from Agile software development.
To be an Agile Marketer…
Measure your social media effectively. Look at how content moves organically through social channels and the wider social web against your target audiences.
High organic penetration indicates that a piece of content resonates with your audience; low penetration can indicate a few possible scenarios: the target isn’t being reached, the content isn’t strong enough, or the content hasn’t been deemed share-worthy by your target.
Several platforms today can measure the amplification of earned media across social channels by overlaying “buzz” from a specific time period with online campaign and offline event data. Inside these 2.0 platforms, the measurement question moves from “what is the value of a Like?” to “how many friends or fans helped drive brand engagement and purchase behavior?”
Recent acquisitions of social media management platforms, Buddy Media by Salesforce.com and Vitrue by Oracle, have illuminated the potential of social CRM programs. Much of the consolidation that is happening in the social space came from agile thinking.
“By combining Buddy Media with the rest of Salesforce.com’s products… we allow customers to listen, engage, gain insight, publish, advertise and measure social marketing programs,” wrote Buddy Media CEO and co-founder Michael Lazerow.
A social play is not always in-channel, but extends to the wider web.
The ideal solution to the problem of social media measurement — which doesn’t yet exist — is a multichannel platform that allows brands to manage and deploy content across all communication channels. It would be a platform that provides a seamless workflow to create, measure and optimize communications and enables the choreography of content and media to secure the relationship with your consumer, their friends and their friends’ friends.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.