There’s no gold where you’re looking

Online and statistics… should be pretty accurate, right?  You do something and you see the effect. As our meerkat friends say – ‘Simples!’

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.

Taking the above as true, it is clear that just relying on those numbers to prove success in social media is an obstruction of the truth. Twitter knows this as does Facebook. So why don’t companies?

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.


3 thoughts on “There’s no gold where you’re looking

  1. Yes with all of the analytical tools available out there for Social Media, it is not hard to guage how well you are actually doing, rather than simply how many follows/likes/fans you have.

    Why don’t people utilize these analysis tools?

    The Green Guerilla

  2. and (depending on your strategy) the results can be pretty quick.
    I do think it is an element of laziness and fear.
    Laziness because they have to think beyond creating a page and a twitter name (i.e. what content am I going to put on there, where do I want people to go after, what behaviour do we want to promote/change).
    Fear because they are still unsure of how powerful it is/can be so they have to justify success through big numbers… the other thing is that the people these numbers are being presented to are equally as clueless; so it’s the blind leading the blind.

  3. Pingback: Mythbusters guide to Social Media | The general musings of Andre Santos

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