Measuring Social Media Marketing

tape measure In working with our various clients at New Marketing Labs, we like to start with measurement as it aligns to goals. We’re always excited that people want to work with us, but we also want to make sure their time isn’t wasted by simply “doing social media.”

To that end, we start with an understanding of our clients’ goals, and work from there into what kinds of measurements we might come up with to help them with their success. I don’t talk about specific clients (as that’s not part of our contract), but I’ll share the general way we’re going about working with clients in 2010, so that you can get a sense of how we’re doing what we do. (My goal is to open conversations about how social media can be used effectively as part of business communications, including marketing and channel development.)

Our 8 Questions

In working with clients, I have eight questions that I like to ask to get a sense of what we might be able to do to improve business:

  1. How can we fill your sales funnel?
  2. How can we improve engagement?
  3. How can we improve exposure and coverage?
  4. How are we empowering your community to interact?
  5. How do we grow sales from your community?
  6. How can we build a voice and a new stage for your ideas?
  7. How do we bridge your offline experiences with your online presence?
  8. How are we extending to the mobile environment?

These questions don’t always line up with what our clients are seeking for help, but they always get the conversation going in the direction of finding goals that will drive needles to move. Not all eight have to be answered, but you can see the measurements that would determine whether we’ve hit the mark on the above goals. Some are rooted in PR-type practice. Others are more marketing-minded. Still others are sales-focused. That’s intentional. I don’t purify when I work. I want the holistic approach. (Sometimes, this is an issue when dealing with clients, as they have one budget from which to pay us, and I often want to work on things that will improve other groups who aren’t paying.)

What We Seek for Each Engagement

Again, these aren’t hard, fast rules, but we try to build the following into every engagement:

  • Measurement (dashboard)
  • Methods (our approach)
  • Materials (people and digital resources)
  • Database (are we growing the client’s database/list?)
  • Effort (what goes into the project)
  • Education (we never give people fish)
  • Interfaces (which parts of the business do/can we touch)
  • Crisis (if something goes wrong, then what?)
  • Deep Wiring (can we build beyond just “marketing?”)

When building our projects, we seek to work more like partners and channel developers than an agency. We’re not there to come up with ideas and let others do all the work. We want to work side-by-side with our clients, and become partners in success. Having the above all answered helps us out in this regard.

But what about measuring?

Measurements

I’m fond of saying that my favorite measurement is the one with a dollar sign attached. I like helping companies find revenue. Barring that, or around that, we look at different measures for different projects. It depends on what the goals were, and the strategy we used to get there. Here are some sample measurements we’ve used at New Marketing Labs in the past:

This is is by NO MEANS inclusive of all the things we track.

  • % of online conversation (versus competitor).
  • % of coverage improvement.
  • # of new subscribers/attendees/buyers via tracking links.
  • # of new threads, comments, conversations for engagements.
  • # of actions taken (for instance, on email newsletters).
  • increase in $ per visitor, monthly average.
  • # of leads
  • # of sales call conversions
  • unique visitors (all those basic web metrics)
  • more

It depends what we’re aiming for as to what we can work on delivering. To me, there are dozens and dozens of other ways to do metrics. (Resources are below.)

So Far, So Good

Our goal when we launched NML was to help companies figure out how to be human at a distance and what it means for business communications, including sales, marketing, PR, customer service, and internal collaboration. We work like a lab. We try things, we experiment, we do things differently than the traditional teams that are out there. So far, we’ve had mostly good response for our efforts (no one gets 100% success).

I’m proud of the work we’ve done, and looking forward to what we’ve got ahead of us in 2010. In writing this up, I just wanted to talk a bit about how I think metrics and measurements can be attained for social media efforts. It’s not rocket surgery (to quote the smart Boston folks who coined that at IMS Boston). We find goals for our clients, we find ways to measure our efforts, and we work to succeed. Repeat as necessary. Make sense?

How about you? What are you doing? What’s your approach?

Want to see how others do metrics? Here’s a huge list from Robin Broitman.

Photo credit aussiegall

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  • stevekeeler

    I feel like the kid looking at the Sears Catalog just before Christmas…Oh I want this and that, and that, and most of all that…As a newbie to the social media world/network I keep coming back to ChrisBrogan.com to find the gems. As a golf professional in my past career, I think that the stuff Chris posts is kinda like the foundation you can build a swing with…So thanks Chris!

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  • http://www.mydoodlebop.com Kristin Gentry

    I agree. I recently came in contact with some “hot shot” blogger *according to Technobabble* who was the polar opposite of a “trust agent”. What a turn-off! I read Chris' posts and newsletters religiously but this one is especially helpful. THANK YOU Chris!

  • http://www.webbosphere.com webbosphere

    As more and more people and companies come to better understand Social Media the measurements and/or goal posts will be altered. This starter list you have graciously provided applies to whats happening now but how about 12 months, 24, 36?

    Each endeavor is aimed at increasing the bottom line (albeit financial or client relationship) and that is articulated here.

    None the less your insight and community sharing is invaluable and appreciated.

    We would add the following:

    1) Is the initiative sustainable? (Budget, Staff, Resources etc)
    – Proper measurement should mirror proper approach
    2) Are efforts aimed at single occurrences or repeated?
    - One deal or many deals?
    3) Are you marketing to a local, national and international audience?
    - Why or why not?

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  • http://www.webbosphere.com webbosphere

    As more and more people and companies come to better understand Social Media the measurements and/or goal posts will be altered. This starter list you have graciously provided applies to whats happening now but how about 12 months, 24, 36?

    Each endeavor is aimed at increasing the bottom line (albeit financial or client relationship) and that is articulated here.

    None the less your insight and community sharing is invaluable and appreciated.

    We would add the following:

    1) Is the initiative sustainable? (Budget, Staff, Resources etc)
    – Proper measurement should mirror proper approach
    2) Are efforts aimed at single occurrences or repeated?
    - One deal or many deals?
    3) Are you marketing to a local, national and international audience?
    - Why or why not?

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  • Kate

    Nice post. I came across this link got some good collection of latest social media marketing (SMM) happenings. http://smmfox.blogspot.com

  • Batman

    Clearly, I need to keep up with this post, and read it three or four times, so that I may fully understand it…. :)

  • http://twitter.com/cbruemmer Colleen Bruemmer

    This is an ecellent post Chris. As someone who is newer to using social media, I appreciate the opportunity to learn from the experts. Thanks for sharing these insights with us.

  • http://www.socialnetworkingsandiego.com/ justinrfrench

    Good insights Chris (as usual)
    Hope you enjoyed the profit magazine I mailed you. Have a great Christmas with your family and a Happy New Year if I don't speak to you on twitter before then. 2010 is going to be amazing for those in social media who continue to develop strategy, implement, educate, and of course measure. Cheers!
    Justin R French

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    Hi,
    Very informative article.The great aspect of social media is with proper attention, it significantly expands the entry points for your brand and business.Your post will surely help newbies to understand the concept of Social media.

  • http://www.gossamar.com Eric

    Chris;
    You and your readers may be interested in measuring the Return on Marketing Investment, or ROMI, of social media marketing campaigns. Sure it's difficult to do this precisely, but the approaches I'm going to share sacrifice 100% accuracy for simplicity. They work well enough to use with confidence and because they're easy enough to use, you'll use them!
    These three posts reveal the methods and provide tools to put them into effect :
    How to calculate the ROMI of your website as a whole: http://bit.ly/6bFSvs
    A list of the 10 best free ROI calculators on the web: http://bit.ly/7fwBkF
    How to build your own ROI calculator (perhaps for your social media campaign): http://bit.ly/6IGZQh

  • http://www.sandor.com.my/ Kian Ann

    I think for every website, every campaign and with so many online platforms – there is so many things to track its starting to get messy!

  • http://www.internetmarketingsysteem.nl/ Tom Zoethout

    Smart Social Media Marketing brings you more traffic, of course, but also incoming links. These bring you more traffic on the long term. So don't be too focussed on the quick dollar. By the way: great article. Thanks for sharing.

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  • richards123

    I'm reading (& I agree) that Social Media Marketing is going to be a big big part of SEO this year. SEO will never be the same, but I like Social Media Marketing (personally I think its more fun)… anyways, here's a great article to read up on SEO & SMM…
    http://blog.socialmaximizer.com/will-social-med

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  • http://DCincome.com/blog TJ Corruthers

    As long as you do the right steps on marketing with social media sites you can actually make the marketing pretty successful

  • http://twitter.com/ARDELLd Ardell DellaLoggia

    Speaking as one whose primary new business source is Social Media, the reality is that Social Media can only spread the “Who You Are” widely. It is that “Who You Are”, and how well you communicate that correctly and genuinely, that turns your Social Media into closed transactions.

  • http://www.jrconsumer.com/ Fifth Wheels

    social media is another great way of reaching out to people…

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    I'm a little late finding this article, but I loved it.

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  • http://www.memorybits.co.uk/ usb flash drive

    The interesting thing about our process, especially as it relates to questions, including the fact that the development of the product marketing, funnel and a customer's lifetime value does not include all aspects. That is why many people what I call social media marketing as the technology is going to be a very broad discipline continues to grow. We are marketing a new normal … This is not just about social media marketing.

  • http://www.yuregininsesi.com yuregininsesi

    This is an ecellent post Chris. As someone who is newer to using social media, I appreciate the opportunity to learn from the experts. Thanks for sharing these insights with us.

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    Isn't this just a lot of marketing speak about funnels and such like? Isn't it a bit obvious?

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  • http://www.annoco.co.uk Norman

    If you can't measure it you cannot improve it, i like your list these are the important metrics to keep on top of.Just small imrovements can have such a big effect on your bottom line.A small improvement in traffic, conversion or cost per click could make any campaign a winner.

  • Angelica

    Social media is complicated and fragmented, to measure it is necessary to unify it by some way.
    Maybe Google find a solution to that.
    Angelica Urinozinc reviewer

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