Questions For Evaluating Social Media Effectiveness
I’ve heard it recommended that small business owners should spend an hour a day engaged with social media. Is that realistic? Most of those running their own company are already burning the candle at both ends. One more demand could push them right over the edge to madness (“One more wafer thin mint?”) Adding another hour to a 12 hour day could be hard to justify, especially since ROI is difficult to measure.
Social media strategy for business owners has to be practical. These owners understand the incredible opportunity to interact with customers and potential customers via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Yelp, local Ning communities (like Smaller Indiana), and the list goes on.
Obviously, it’s valuable for the owner to engage at some level but that engagement is likely to be limited at best and very narrow. This will vary from person to person depending on their situation. However, wisdom dictates that it wouldn’t be smart to have the company’s top asset sitting in front of the computer all day (or would it? I’m just asking questions.)
In most situations it will be best to delegate the social media activity to an individual or small group, though that’s not to say every employee couldn’t participate in some fashion. Still, someone has to own it. Someone who reports to the boss. A report showing the effectiveness of social media activity would be golden. What would be in that report? Where would that information come from? How would it be assimilated?
Karl Havard, guest blogging on the eConsultancy blog, proposed a report broken down into 4 categories: awareness, consideration, conversion, and advocay. What I like most about his idea are the questions he proposes get answered.
- What percentage increase in new website visitors has been derived from the social web activity? (Referrals, Search, Direct, Email etc.)
- Which tweets, posts, comments, were the most effective and most viral?
- What was the increase in search results (number and volume) and improvement in search rankings based upon this activity?
- What social web activity led to increased keyword activity within search resulting in a website visit?
- What were those conversation topics and keywords?
- Which social sites/content were the source of the related activity?
- Has the social buzz (volume) and keyword trending increased around my barnd, product or service?
- Which social web channels provided the highest levels of conversion on site? (not just referrals, but the increase in conversions from search, direct, email etc.)
- Specifically, which social web activity (post, comment, tweet, competition etc) triggered conversions? (And also those that didn’t do anything.)
- Is the increase in followers across the various channels proportional to the increase in conversions?
- Which social web activity led to the most inter-consumer activity?
- What impact has the “share this” option had?
- Which items, that had the share this facility, were the most and least effective?
- Who were the most influential and authoritative people that helped increase awareness and conversion?
- What do people really think about our brand, product or service? (not just a sentiment number, but an authoritative list of people and comments)
These are fantastic questions! Even reviewed manually, the answers to these questions are critical for guiding behavior and investment of time and resources. An individual business owner or company would be well served to ask these questions regularly.
Karl goes on to suggest that Google is in the best position to automate a reporting function like this via their analytics tool. For an organic SEO company such as ours this would be extremely helpful as we are trying to help multiple clients manage their social media engagement as part of their SEM efforts. Add to that the low cost (FREE) of using Google Analytics and you potentially have the world’s greatest social media ROI reporting system (How’s that for a long tail keyword?).
If there’s already a comparable tool out there or if you have additional questions to add to Karl’s list, PLEASE share.