Can You Measure Storytelling? You Need Your Own ROI

You’re being asked to quantify and measure your company’s social media efforts. Are you scratching your head and thinking “How am I going to do that?” There are many ways to measure social media. I would first ask these questions:

  • How is all advertising being measured?
  • How does your company measure digital/online marketing?
  • For that matter, how is every part of your company’s efforts measured?

I’m not just talking about marketing. Social media measurement should not be any different than other marketing, sales or business efforts. You should be able to apply the same logic you’re already using. So why is so much buzz around social media measurement?

1. For those of you deeply rooted in measurement and setting goals before, during and after a campaign or project, you’ve already solved social media measurement. Apply the same logic. You might believe that this is new and isn’t like other areas of marketing you’re already executing. Not true. Are you talking to your customers by phone? Do you use e-mail to communicate and market to clients? Are you advertising and promoting your message and new products? Do you have a centralized website that showcases what your company does?  All of these elements make up social media.

2. For companies not measuring their marketing efforts, you’ll need to get comfortable with why you are in social media. What are your strategies, goals and objectives? Is social media a way for you to enhance your customer service efforts? Are you using it to deepen awareness for your brand? Is social media used to inform product development? Do you think your brand has to be in social or you’ll fall behind? Whatever the reason, go back to “why” you began and make a commitment. Map out how your company defines marketing success. If you’re being asked for an ROI of social, then create your own ROI.

3. Measurement: what it is and what it is not. Amber Naslund, author of The NOW Revolution, wrote an insightful post about social media measurement called, “Counting is not Measurement”. Counting the number of followers, likes and or visits to your efforts should be one of many measurements you look at. These are good places to start. You’ll want to go deeper—think about activity ratio, community engagement, sentiment and how your CRM platform integrates with social media. CRM metrics are very close to how you want to think about social analytics. I challenge everyone to think about this: can you measure human interaction? Can you measure storytelling? I would debate these elements are the true art behind social media. While I don’t believe there is an ROI for storytelling or human connection; social media data can inform your content, gauge customer sentiment and the list goes on and on in terms of what you can learn about customer perception, sentiment and engagement.

So, why is everyone talking about social media measurement? Too many companies are not defining why they are in social media. Setting goals and success metrics are an important part of any company initiative. “We Have The Data—Now What?!” by Jennifer Roberts is an excellent example of how companies use social analytics to inform product development and customer sentiment. Companies need to get comfortable first with why they are using social media, define what measurement means to them and ultimately determine how best to use that data in their world.