There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the world of social media, these are some of the questions I get asked nearly every day
- How much does it cost to get someone to blog about this?
- Can we go onto forums to talk about this?
- How much does it cost to upload a video to YouTube?
- Surely if we upload the ad to YouTube then millions of people will watch it straight away?
- What do you mean it’s not news anymore? Is 6 months all that long ago?
- You can’t measure social media, can you? Therefore we don’t want to do it…
That last one is the biggest problem, for some reason people don’t think you can measure social media. Of course, you can’t measure the value of a relationship with someone and so most of what I talk about when pitching in work to a client is the inherent value of simply having these relationships and communication platforms to use. But, in addition to that, we do also work on benchmarks and measurables for campaigns; a client needs to know what they’re paying for, they need to see tangible results and we need look at results to gain learnings from the campaign.
It’s tricky though, there are thousands of things you can measure (and of course, thousands of things you shouldn’t measure – page views = zzzz…) around a social media campaign. It seems that nearly every week there is a conference in London about measuring social media. Unlike direct marketing and traditional advertising, we’re still in a relatively new industry and we don’t yet have industry standards and benchmarks for results.
Cue the drum roll and in steps the lovely Will McInnes, a man with questionable taste in socks, but with a wonderful goal to set up some industry standards for measurement. He’s started the Social Media Measurement Camp – a group of clever people who meet up to discuss this sparkly minefield. The second camp happened yesterday, we all sat in a grimy Soho pub, drew graphs on flipcharts and compared stories. It was wonderful to be open and honest with fellow social media-ers about what we measure, as well as how and when. We’re collating everything in a shiny wiki, which will hopefully run and run and become a rather comprehensive guide to social media measurement.
Clearly (and hopefully) we’ll never come up with one simple equation, as per banner ad sales (e.g. 0.25% click through rate); because that would be utter nonsense. Imagine quantifying relationships like that, it’d be horrible. I think we all agreed that we should never put a number against the value of a relationship, but instead look at outcomes of these relationships. So for NPD (e.g. Dell Idea Storm) we could look at how many new products or product changes we ended up making or the shift in brand perceptions after that NPD campaign.
For me, any numbers at the end of a project should always run alongside the story and the examples of improved relationships. Oh and some nice pictures of toddlers using iPhones. Everyone loves photos like that.
Anyway, it’s all very exciting. Go and look at the wiki and do add/edit away like mad. Or indeed, come along to the next meet up!