The idea that social media is becoming so ingrained in our daily lives that the term won’t be useful anymore just got one step closer to being a reality.
A couple of weeks ago while checking out this cool social media infographic about the History of Social Media, it occured to me that we probably won’t even be using the term “social media” for very much longer anymore. (Good thing it’s nowhere in my job title.)
You see, it used to be that companies doubted the veracity of any kind of social media measurement as a business metric. But one of the oldest media measurement companies in the world (in an effort to stay credible perhaps) has just adopted social metrics as a core part of their offering.
As reported by Forbes, Nielsen has acquired social TV metrics company SocialGuide to “to establish industry metrics and standards” and “and bring TV networks the next level of measurement.”
This is what will continue to happen across each industry and companies all over the world. Hopefully, the metrics produced and measured by Nielsen will be meaningful, because that’s the biggest challenge facing businesses today.
How Do I Know Which Social Metrics Are Important?
Too many companies today are still confused about which social metrics are useful. The answer is pretty simple, but it requires a little bit of work: The social metrics you use should depend on your business goal.
Check out slide 12 in this presentation: You already know what your business goals are already. Why would you let some outside organization or social network define what is important to you? The key is to be able to relate the online activity that you measure to the traditional business metrics and goals that you are already collecting.
For example, let’s say there was a huge increase in the number of tweets about a certain product over the same period of time that there was an increase of your sales. You would certainly say there was cause to believe there’s a correlation. Now it’s time to investigate. What do the numbers say? Look at benchmark data for both the social metrics and the business metrics. Is this increase above average for this time period? What other outside factors might have contributed to this?
If you discover that they are in fact related, it’s time to dig in to the content, context, and sentiment of those tweets. Delve deeper. Sort and filter to gain more insight. What was it about your product that people were responding to? Was it timed with some outside event? Is it marketing campaign-based or viral? How can you capitalize on this in the future? What can you learn from it?
It Gets Easier
As long-term comparative benchmarks are established by companies and industry-specific metrics are adopted worldwide, businesses will be able to analyze data from the web (not just social data) a lot quicker and more efficiently. But this takes time.
It’s nice to see things moving in the right direction. Pretty soon we will be able to see the kind of big-data predictive analysis that Nate Silver has applied to the last two presidential races applied to more and more business models.