Why You Should Fire Your Social Media Marketing Manager

Kent Lewis
May 2, 2012 — 1,825 views  
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What is a Facebook Like worth? How about a Twitter follower? Industry researchers and even lawyers are happy to give us numbers like $3.60 or $2.50 respectively. My answer? I believe it depends on your objective, audience and offering. Unfortunately, too many marketers are focusing on the wrong metrics, and making poor strategic decisions as a result. In this article, I will outline a few key metrics to consider incorporating into your key performance indicators (KPIs) if you’re interested in getting that bonus, or just keeping your job.

Before we dive in, let me take a moment to explain the concept of ratios at KPIs. For starters, the standard model for social media measurement is to track one or more of the following:

  • Awareness: total number (or percentage growth) of      Likes, Fans, Followers, Subscribers or Views
  • Engagement: total quantity or quality of Shares,      Comments, Retweets, Replies, Ratings or Conversations

While these metrics can certainly help set a baseline and provide trending for general reach and frequency, they can be misleading or misinterpreted as absolute values. One way to minimize the limitations of these metrics is to track them as ratios instead. The benefit of a ratio is that it focuses on relationships and relativity. For example, marketers shouldn’t care as much about the total number of Likes on Facebook; rather, they should care about the level of quality and engagement with those individuals. One way to do that is by looking at relationships like the average number of comments or shares-per-post. In that scenario, the focus is on the relative quality of engagement over time. The absolute numbers in this scenario may look to be increasing, but when compared relative to each other, total engagement may be decreasing. Here’s a specific example:

Month 1

#s

Month 2

#s

Metrics

Chng

Likes

2,000

Likes

4,000

Like Growth

100%

Posts

100

Posts

125

Post Growth

25%

Comments

200

Comments

300

Comment Growth

50%

Comments-per-Post

2

Comments-per-Post

2.4

CPP Growth

20%

Comments-per-Like

0.1

Comments-per-Like

0.075

CPL Growth

-25%

           

In the above Facebook example, the “Old School” Social Media Marketing Manager would claim success, based on month-to-month Like, Post and Comment Growth. However, if we dig deeper, you’ll notice the comment-per-like ratios is actually down as other areas grow. As CMO, I would call out the discrepancy, as it implies overall social media engagement is in fact down, not up. Keep in mind, this is an overly-simplified example meant to illustrate the power of ratios.

The Matrix

As you can see from the example above, I’m compelled to create a matrix at any opportunity. In the following case, I felt a matrix was the easiest way to communicate a sampling of ratio-based metrics for social media platforms, based on objective. I also included sample goals and alternative metrics. These are not meant to be de facto metrics for all social media marketing efforts. Rather, they are meant to foster conversation and inspire you to create your own meaningful metrics. Let’s take a look:

Platform

Objective

Metric

Goal

Alternate Metric

Facebook

Customer Engagement

Av. #Comments/Post

10

Av. # Shares/Week

Twitter

General Awareness

Av. New Followers/Post

5

Av. #RTs/Post

LinkedIn

Thought Leadership

# Best Answers

20

# InRecommendations

YouTube

Sales/Lead Generation

# Leads or Sales/View

1%

Likes/Views

Google+

Customer Service

# Hangouts/Week

3

NetPromoter Score

Pinterest

General Awareness

# Likes/Pin

10%

# Repins

SlideShare

Sales/Lead Generation

# Leads or Sales/View

2%

# Downloads

iTunes

Thought Leadership

# Downloads/Month

500

Ratings

Quora

Thought Leadership

# Best Answers

10

Referring Traffic

Blog

General Awareness

# Unique Visitors/Month

1000

Comments/Post

I encourage you to review and discuss this matrix with your executive and marketing team. Ask the following questions:

  • Which platforms are most relevant to our target      audience? (Yes, you need to know enough about your customers, prospects      and social platforms to answer this question)
  • Which objective is a priority for each of those      platforms? (See above. Map your objective to the strengths of each      platform, based on user behavior and your communications or business      goals)
  • Does the sample metric make sense for your business?      (Run sample data through and see what insights it provides. I suggest 1-3      months for a test, depending on volume of data)
  • What goal is most realistic based on your current      objectives, audience, resources and timelines? (consider setting a
         baseline and a stretch goal – which may be 10-50% higher)
  • Are there any secondary metrics you should consider?      (consider testing before finalizing, or create an entirely separate KPI      for the alternative metrics)

Once you’ve answered the questions above to your satisfaction and complete an initial test, you should discover entirely new insights in regards to how to best allocate your social media resources to maximize return-on-investment (ROI) on your overall marketing program. Feel free to drop me a line to let me know how it goes and know we’re always here to help you through the process, if you get stuck.

Kent Lewis

Anvil Media

Kent Lewis is President and Founder of Anvil Media and Formic Media, sister search engine and social media marketing agencies based in Portland, Ore. Follow him on Twitter at @KentLewis or visit www.anvilmediainc.com for more information.