A survey released this month by Booz&Co revealed that top executives perceive brand building to be the key benefit of social media activity. And, quite remarkably, brand building featured much more highly in the perceived list of benefits than acquisitive marketing objectives such as broader reach.
But how are brand owners measuring the impact of their social media efforts on their number one objective – brand building? Historically a key metric has been the number of “likes” on the Facebook fan page, but what does that really mean? Fancy standing up in the board room to make the case for further budget based on the number of extra “likes” it would buy? Not me. And if your social media campaign isn’t just about reaching a broader consumer base, then likes isn’t even nearly the right measure anyway.
Those businesses at the cutting edge are already dealing with more data and more sophisticated metrics – generated by their own teams and via partnerships with the social media brands themselves. But last week Facebook launched a new metric on-tap and open to the public: “People Talking About”. This measures the level of activity initiated by consumers, including new posts, checkins, poll participation, mentions and shares.
Today, mashable.com published an interesting analysis. How do the top 10 consumer brands on facebook ranked by “likes” fare when we look at their performance against the “People Talking About” measure?
As we might have expected, whilst there isn’t much between the top 10 most liked brands, the “People Talking About” measure is much more differentiating. Try combining Likes and People Talking About and you’d get some sort of engagement measure – we’re getting there.
But ultimately, the key here is for the metric to be aligned with the objective.
And whilst brand-owners are still experimenting with the various social media levers and measuring the consequences (“…let’s try launching a survey of a certain length at a certain time on a certain day across 3 social media channels, and then see what it does for us – then tweak and repeat”), selecting the right metrics is half the battle