One of the things I’m questioned on most often and get pinged to answer more frequently than many other topics is how to accurately show the results of social activity on the bottom line of an organization. It’s nearly impossible to build a case for an addition of Social CRM Systems or a total switch to a Social Business without being able to back up the trend numbers with some concrete data on why it will help your particular business.
The words highlighted in the previous sentence are important (hence the highlights) because every business is different. Sure, it’s easy to say “Look at what social media did for Zappos,” or “But Old Spice!” over and over again, but the truth is you’re NOT Zappos and you don’t have the budget that Old Spice did (probably).
So, how can you break down the numbers to show actual success in your market, with your customers in order to convince the C-suite they need to be paying as much attention to this as you are.
(Subsequently, if you’re reading this and are a part of the C-suite, how can you convince yourself or bring enough data to the table to justify your stance?)
Data is King
By now, you’ve heard the phrase “Content is King” so much it holds no more meaning to you. While it’s true that Google rewards good content and without it, you may be dead in the water, when it comes to proving the worth of social media through metrics, data does and will always hold the crown.
(This is the point in most blog posts where people start talking about Social Media ROI and all that jazz. I’m not going to do that here, except to say that I’m not going to be getting into Social Media ROI in the sense that you’re familiar with, because that’s the land of snake oil salesmen and trend chasers. I’ll be approaching big data metrics from a more traditional marketing sense, to show you that it doesn’t have to be labeled a buzzword to hold value in this economy.)
There are three issues I see with truly getting to the heart of helpful social media metrics:
- Social Media is freaking HUGE and it’s nearly impossible to wrangle in the sheer scope of the universe for accurate measurement.
- Next, if you figure out how to listen to the whole social media universe, how can you isolate the important conversations and metrics?
- Finally, it’s expensive and time-consuming to implement the resources to answer clients in a timely manner and track all you need to track.
Today, we’re going to look at the first of those issues and then finish up on Thursday with the rest.
It’s a Big, Big, Big, Big World
You’ve no doubt heard the term “big data” floating out in the Internet ether lately. This is one of those buzzwords I don’t mind talking about because it’s arrival is completely dependent on the industry that necessitates it’s existence.
Let me explain.
Big data isn’t a wholly new concept, but because of the sheer amounts of data that the Internet now pulls in and the approaching efficiency of technology to corral and translate that data, we’re able to finally put a fence on the idea and find ways to use big data for our businesses’ good. Social media and big data are almost two sides of the same coin in essence: they both exist in a world of gigantic amounts of information streaming at speeds impossible to take in by the human mind and cognition, thereby necessitating the existence of detailed software to translate into helpful ways.
In order to truly distill bog data into any sort of helpful metric, you MUST use technology and software designed for that purpose.
In order to truly distill the actions and conversations going on in social media regarding your business and industry, you MUST use technology and software specifically designed for that purpose.
Saying, “We’ve got people to do that,” simply won’t cut it anymore. To play in the game and even have a chance of pulling the metrics and numbers you need, you have to use the right tools. Once you’ve reached that point, you can begin to figure out what to track and how to track it.
It all starts with the ability to listen, though.
(Thursday we’ll dive into how to distill tracking down int your niches and what numbers and figures you’re actually looking for.)
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