But then why do so many companies insist on measuring the wrong thing?
Companies prophesise about the number of Facebook fans, Facebook likes, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections or website page views. All providing brilliantly impressive numbers. But what to they mean in business terms? F-all.
Companies are not in business to make friends or be liked. They want to make money (even non-profit companies want your money). If people like them along the way then great.
I believe there is a basic reason for this – laziness. And this manifests itself in three ways:
- they need to sell Social Media up the food chain so big numbers impress (fans, likes, visits, followers)
- actual ROI from Social Media takes too long so the above provides quick stats to show it is working
- developing a proper Social Media engagement strategy takes too long and requires too much commitment
Companies need to move away from those measures into ones where there is a greater understanding of business impact, such as:
- how many contact forms are filled in by prospects? how many times are our phones ringing from our web-only phone number?
- how many of our Facebook ‘friends’ used a promotion?
- how many of your Twitter followers will attend an event you are running?
Companies need to measure engagement and action rather than potential. They need to consider how to convert those who have shown a disposition to have a message ‘thrown’ at them from passive viewers to active buyers.
Then will they really know if Social Media and Interactive is providing any gold. Until then it will simply be nothing but smoke and mirrors.