Friday, May 7, 2010

Support Your Social Strategy With a Metrics Framework

In late April Altimeter and Web Analytics Demystified released a thought-provoking white paper on social media metrics. Authored by Jeremiah Owyang and John Lovett, it presents a process for developing a metrics framework in the chaotic world of social media metrics. The authors don’t expect the chaos to subside soon; too many platforms and vendors creating constant change. They’re most likely correct. Consider, for example, that Apple has a new iAd platform for its mobile devices, and you can always safely put Facebook in the “constant change” category. And the examples go on, endlessly.

The whole white paper has a lot of value, but I’d like to review just their steps for building a framework and a couple of concepts that go with them. The generic framework is straightforward; strategy guided by social media marketing and business objectives, management guided by Key Performance Indicators, and execution which, of course, provides the metrics.

To achieve that sort of integrated framework, they recommend 5 steps. They are:

Step 1: Revisit Tradition for Solid Innovation. “Many [businesses] don’t think through the traditional business rules that they know prior to deploying social initiatives or when measuring their effectiveness.” This is part of your integrated marketing strategy, not a vast new wasteland!

Step 2: Make Learning Your Primary Goal. “Every measurable business objective provides an opportunity to learn about consumers and the ways in which they interact with you, your brand and each other.” Note, that as I suggested in the post on strategy hubs, social media will not provide the conversion venue for most marketers in the near future. The authors include a chart that maps metrics to generic objectives. The original includes selected vendors in each area (p. 10). Sergio Balegno of Marketing Sherpa gave us another example last week that includes B2B segmentation, with objectives and metrics for each segment. That’s a useful way to think about understanding your customers!

Step 3: Define Requirements First, Then Select Vendors. “Organizations must determine a measurement strategy for their social marketing activity that aligns with internal goals, objectives and cultural capabilities.” Your needs, not off-the-shelf vendor products. Good advice! Do you have free solutions working now? If not, it’s likely you’re not ready for a paid solution.

Step 4: Develop Your Social Media Measurement Playbook. The authors advise marketers to “Start by creating a social media measurement playbook that aligns your organization on the goals, objectives, expectations and actions of your social marketing efforts.” In other words, a document that will keep the entire organization (all of whom are hopefully social media participants in one way or another!) moving in the same direction in social media. Think guidelines, and go from there.

Step 5: Make Our Measurement Framework Your Own. The authors “encourage readers of this report to adopt sections of our Social Marketing Analytics Framework and modify them to fit your specific business needs.” In other words, there are no cookie-cutter solutions to any of these issues. Each organization has to think them through for itself.

The while paper goes on to take each of the four generic objectives—dialog, advocacy, support and innovation—and identify KPIs, operationalization of each, and potential vendors. I hope by now I’ve convinced you to read the entire white paper for yourself!

The process is useful, but there are no new strategic insights here. It’s the same mantra; organizations must integrate social media marketing into their overall marketing strategy, then measure its accomplishments with care. Sounds so simple, but in practice, it’s so hard to do!


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Alexa IC said...

Thanks for this blog. I was looking for a social framework for my social mobilization plan and I found some interesting ideas here. keep up the good work.

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