There are a number of different ways for companies to measure the impact of their social media efforts, which can make it difficult for companies to know if they’re using the right metrics. Radian6 reminds companies that,
“[For] measurement to be effective, it has to align directly with the measurable objectives you’ve set.”
So we start at the beginning: determine what the company wants to change, improve or accomplish with their social media efforts – what’s their bottom line? Goals will differ from company to company and from campaign to campaign. The goal may be to reduce costs, or as we’ll explore in this post, to increase revenue.
Radian6 describes two ways companies can connect the dots between their social media efforts and sales results: direct cause and correlation.
Direct cause (or attribution) essentially means the social media initiative is the sales channel itself. For instance, you can directly attribute sales results to your social media efforts by:
- Building specific landing pages for your website (to purchase a product, request a quote, etc.) which are only accessible via a specific URL from your social media channels.
- Offering specific deals that are only available to your social media audiences.
The second and more broadly used method is correlation. In other words, you track your total sales during a defined period and then overlay trends in your online activity for that same period. If both go up you can indicate a positive correlation – your social media efforts are likely helping to drive these sales. If social media activity is up but sales stay flat or go down, then something isn’t working and it’s time to revisit your social media strategy.
Old Spice used the correlation method to determine the success of their infamous ‘Mustafa’ campaign. It first launched on YouTube for the 2010 Super Bowl (and to TV shortly after) and extended into personalized YouTube video messages where Isaiah Mustafa responded to specific social media fans and celebrities who tweeted questions to @OldSpice. Over the course of 3 days they filmed over 180 videos around the clock. Watch the ABCNews video interview with Isaiah Mustafa, which summarizes the campaign and shows a few examples of these personalized messages (you’re welcome, ladies).
The Mustafa campaign not only created tremendous buzz, capturing 75% of all conversations in the category, but it had a significant impact on Old Spice body wash sales. Here are some of the stats, according to digitalbuzz and Weiden+Kennedy (the agency who developed the campaign):
- On day 1 the campaign received almost 6 million views (that’s more than Obama’s victory speech)
- After the first week old spice had over 40 million views, a 2700% in Twitter followers, an 800% increase in Facebook fan interaction and a 300% increase in Oldspice.com website traffic
- In 6 months, the campaign not only generated 1.4 billion impressions but sales increased by 27% over that same period, making Old Spice the #1 body wash brand for men.
Lessons for others:
Measuring social media efforts can be frustrating and difficult. In fact, a recent survey found that only 30% of brands consider themselves to be “effective” or “extremely effective” at connecting social media to revenue.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud suggests 3 steps to make measuring social media easier:
- Step 1: Pick a goal. Social media shouldn’t be a goal in and of itself – it’s a tactic a business can use to reach an objective, such as selling more products or improving customer service. It’s the difference between: “We need a Facebook page” and “We need to learn more about our customers through our Facebook page.” Social media goals and objectives usually align with the greater goals of your organization.
Some popular goals include: increase awareness, generate leads, convert leads to sales, and retaining existing customers.
- Step 2: Pick your metrics. This can be as complicated or as simple as you make it. Generally speaking, you may want to begin with only 1-3 metrics that indicate progress on your goal; these are your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Some popular metrics include: number of members/followers, volume (how much are people interacting?), tone/sentiment (are mentions positive or negative?), share of voice/conversation (within your industry or topic, how much of the conversation is about you?), sales, and leads.
- Step 3: Segment and trend. It’s about slicing and dicing data at this point. You’ll want to identify specific periods of time to identify trends and find correlations (or disconnects) between your KPIs and your goals.
The key takeaway, regardless of how companies choose to measure social media efforts, is that they should have a success metric in mind before they begin. Like Zig Ziglar says, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”
- Radian6 Community eBook: Practical Social Media Measurement & Analysis
- Old Spice Social Campaign Case Study
- Old Spice Digital Response
- Social Media ROI Cookbook
- 3 Simple Steps to Measuring Social Media
- Zig Ziglar Quotes
- Old Spice Man, Let’s Get Personal
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.