Social Media Ruined Everything

Bringing Accountability to Social Media Participation

Social media took Internet marketers by surprise. The channel presents immense opportunities and significant challenges - something that remains difficult to master for many, particularly as it relates to performance and the bottom line of businesses on the Web.

Conditioned to understand performance in very specific ways, social media changed the analytics paradigm. The measure of success has changed from established metrics like "conversion rate" (in all its various forms) to far more ephemeral indicators of performance. We've added "followers," "likes," "retweets" and "impressions" to our language, and the result has been a loss of focus on what is truly important to the success of an organization - profit. It's time to bring some accountability to social media participation.

Issues with Social Media

One of the major concerns is that Web businesses have only had a compartmentalized view of their social media marketing campaigns. They have no understanding of how something such as the rate of posting on Facebook might influence frequency of purchases by first-time visitors or the most loyal of customers. Or how retweets by an influential blogger might spur membership.

Today, more than ever, it is essential to have an integrated view of how customers are engaging in today's active but rather fragmented multi-channel social media environment. Website Magazine has covered several premier social media monitoring and management tools (see Social Media Dashboards in
Let's look more closely at the core social media metrics to be tracked.

Community Growth and the Sales Impact

While highly active and influential social community members can outperform thousands of inactive members when it comes to distributing messages in some instances, the size of community does matter - if only as an indicator to prospective followers. But we're not just building a community on Facebook or Twitter - we're trying to turn a profit. Ultimately, what should be tracked alongside a social media following is how it corresponds to the number of sales or leads occurring on your website. Having a ballooning social media community but flat-line sales means more needs to be done to drive visitors to the website.

User Activity & Membership

Growth of a social media community is important, but nothing says social media dominance like a corresponding increase in registrations on your own websites. From likes and comments on Facebook to retweets and direct messages on Twitter, a high level of user activity on your website indicates not only a capacity to engage your audience off the site, but also converts users on a destination you have full control over - your website.

General Sentiment & Loyalty

Perhaps the most difficult metric to measure (if it is a metric at all) is that of sentiment - the tone of the mention - i.e. is the comment positive, negative or neutral. Those responsible for social media tracking and analytics find sentiment analysis useful, particularly when applied to customer service. For example, if you know with precision how many negative comments were responded to on Twitter and see a measurable reduction in phone-support costs, social media participation has provided some valuable benefits.

Don't let social media ruin your Web presence. While time is the primary investment you will make as it relates to social media success, bring in some accountability to participation by aligning that with the greater objective - revenue.