I get requests to review social media related platforms all the time; functionality, metrics, and integration. Some of these platforms are really good and some of them will die a quiet death. I make it a point to not discuss any specific platforms just because I want to stay strategic in this blog. But, I think there is value in outlining what I am looking for in the way of platform measurement capabilities that will support my social marketing strategy. Here is my wish list of activities that I want to measure and for which I am trying to collect tools; some of which is available and some is still not ready for primetime…
- Automatic Chatter Analysis – who, what, where, when, why, and how with comparisons, triggers, analysis, and a dashboard.
- Synchronization of My Social Networking Contacts – cross platform and multiple networks with the ability to start with one and find someone on another; i.e. uploading a twitter contact and have the ability to synch with LinkedIn or Facebook or email.
- Social CRM – then do that for all of my company’s contacts, dropped into a CRM system which I can then manage multiple contacts, campaigns, and relationships
- Online Community Lead Scoring – apply lead scoring to my own hosted community. I want to be able to identify when activities in the community indicated greater interest and send that into my CRM or multi-channel marketing system for follow up.
- Multi-Channel Reach Measurement – include social networking channels, twitter, blogs, back links, SEO, & SEM. Not just email and web analytics.
- Social Influencer Scoring – compare the various potential lead influencers to compare; blogs, communities, social networks, twitter, forums, sites, etc.
- Lead Source Analysis – Need a better way of being able to identify and track indirect sources for leads. I can use the latest web analytic tools to identify pages, but I need a way to elevate that to identify the sources of leads to compare and contract; i.e. 2nd generation re-tweet triggers a wave of people to our website. I want to be able to match the tweet to the twitter user to the lead. This would require some serious integration between social media and web analytics with a healthy dose of marketing legwork.
- Strength of Social Marketing Channels – Once you can track, then you can evaluate.
- Cost of Lead Acquisition by Social Marketing Channel – This is the Holy Grail; to measure the cost of lead generation by channel. Cross match it to revenue from leads and lead source and you have ROI.
- Social Marketing Brand Strength – Measurement of reach, calls to action, and actual action. There are some metrics out there with proprietary formulas, but this is still nascent.
If automatic ROI calculations are still some point off into the future, then what can we measure today and how can we justify our expenditures on Social Marketing? My answer is that it depends on the “how’s”; how big, how complex, how sophisticated, how much is your budget, and how much time? You can track a great deal with the tools currently available which is more sophisticated than much of the traditional brand-oriented mass communications channels that exist today. So, the good news is that we are moving in the right direction, but it is still more art than science. Well, at least until the platform vendors provide the above capabilities.