Every week I take part in a tweetchat, #mediachat (hosted by Aaron Kilby, @kilby76 , every Thursday 10PM EST) that is very informative, fast-paced, and draws the attention of some of the most well-versed people in social media marketing/content management that I have had the pleasure of meeting. Last night’s chats’ special guest, Michele Price, answered questions covering the misconception, negative connotation, and appeal of data/numbers in relation to social media. While I won’t get into all of the specifics of the particulars of the conversation, there was a common theme of everyone involved. We love measuring ROI on the things that we can, but what about those that we can’t? IE customer sentiments, customer loyalty, relationship cultivation, etc. This brought about a question that has stuck with me into the better part of today; Quantitative numbers are great; they allow us to map out ROI based upon figures of engagement and action, but what about the qualitative data that measures overall sentiment, those things measured that I can’t lay over a chart and see what I am getting in return for my contributions? Which is more important? Are either of them?
To get to the answer I think is most important to any of us in the social media realm, we first have to realize some simple truths:
- You cannot, I repeat, cannot measure everything. You can try, and you can say you are, but you can’t.
Social media marketing and the analytics that come with it are still a relatively new science. We are making huge strides in the field, but to be honest, no one really knows definitively what makes this all work. We have very good guesses, and we cater our marketing campaigns based on statistics of what we think matter, but this changes daily. Figure out what your brand’s goals are, and run with it. It wouldn’t make since to monitor leads and sales if you don’t sale anything, right? While that may be an extreme example I think you get the point.
- Any measured data can be twisted in anyway necessary to come to a desired final conclusion.
Take your charts, data ranges, and statistics with a grain of salt. Yes, they are important, but if they aren’t as high as you want, it is not the end of the world.
- A brand advocate may never spend any money directly with you, but they could potentially send thousands of dollars your way.