What’s Different about Measuring Social Media

The Differences in Measuring Social Media

Somewhere between brand advertising (difficult to measure) and direct marketing or SEM (super easy to measure), lies social media. The measurement used in traditional marketing (response rate, cost to acquire a customer, cost per thousand) doesn’t necessarily apply here, and the qualitative or indirect benefits are much higher. Both the Nature of Engagement and the Impact Horizon change the picture significantly, and shift what , when and how we measure results and returns. A bit on the differences we see here:
The Nature of Engagement Differs

Just Showing Up: Unlike search advertising, where you are in response to the almost telepathic inquiry or keyword query, communities and social media encourage and reward those with a steady Ongoing Presence (excluding promotional activity).
Listening: Rather than one directional taking AT a group of people, the nature of community is Interactive.
Give, give and give again: The contextual tone for social networks is helpful, building and encouraging and supporting other members of the community, and not explicitly self promoting, as in advertising (Chip reminded us of the scene in Miracle on 34th street, where the Macy’s Santa is telling people that they can find things at Gimbel’s, and how that comes back in a virtuous circle- nice example).
Share of mind: Finally, the Cognitive Framework of Social Nets is collaborative, respectful, not emphasizing immediate shop and buy, it’s not the place for hardsell- that’s not the mindset people are in when they are participating. You increase your share of mind, not necessarily your immediate click through.

The Impact Horizon Differs

Now and Later: Social media is a great example of “long tail” content economics. The impact or investment is not necessarily immediate- it is the result of longterm relationship and connection, of interactivity and discovery. Rather than a storm, it’s a lot of steady rain. A single post may continue to get pick ups and click throughs for months after it goes up.
The Gift That Keeps on Giving: Moreover, investing in building community, rather than one off hits, means that you are able to continue a dialogue for a longer time. Rather than one big hit, new community members or followers stay in your circle of concern and attention for a long time. Starting point:
Picking up Steam: Conversely, the timeline of building a social media base is more extended than buying keywords. How effective you will be at building your community or followers depends in large part on whether you are you starting with a natural market, or from scratch, and the overall pool you are swimming in- and whether what you have to say means something. We allow anywhere between 6 weeks and 6 months to really build community.

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