For companies that see value in social media but either can’t or won’t assign a target ROI of social media activities they undertake, metrics measuring progress and effects are a good proxy. Among the most common metrics used by companies we interviewed were:
- Impressions delivered
- Click-through rate from social platforms to their sites
- Share-ability (how many times their content was shared through social media)
For B2C companies, consumer sentiment is also an important metric. But several executives believe sentiment isn’t particularly “scientific” data and can only be used in a unidirectional manner. One claimed it is generally only about 70% accurate, since so many consumers use jargon, vernacular and sarcasm in social media. That makes it extremely difficult for companies to understand what’s really going on.
Companies also measure how many fans are on Facebook and Twitter. One network TV news programs has millions of Twitter followers, and a global cable TV company has tens of millions of Facebook fans.
Others follow their Klout scores religiously. (Klout is a Web service that purports to measure how influential social media users are, whether an individual or company. It bases its scores on eight social networks, including Twitter and Facebook. Klout uses a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being the highest score one can achieve. At the time of this writing, President Barack Obama’s Klout score was 99. Teen idol Justin Bieber’s Klout score was 92.) A manufacturer of women’s apparel told us they were extremely proud to have increased the firm’s Klout score to 80. It said its blogger events have helped push the score up.
A large bank gives senior executives a monthly report that tracks proxy measures of social media, ones that align with the traditional marketing funnel:
- Awareness (paid and earned impressions)
- Familiarity (followership, overall interactions, likes, shares, comments, clicks
- Consideration (referrals to the bank’s properties, e-mail captures)
- Advocacy (social media shares and external blog mentions).
Additionally, the bank provides updates on the performance of specific campaigns, tactics and tests.