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Insight into Social Metrics


By Bronwyn van Rensburg

I speak to many people in the digital space ranging from agencies to corporates, to full solution social media teams, community managers, content creators, website analysts, digital experts, …need I go on? I speak to a lot of people from all walks of the digital and social sphere. I am not bragging so much as trying to bring home that I understand the “technicalities” surrounding the metrics and benchmarking concerns.

Digital is still changing and it is still growing and it is still shaping our daily lives more and more. When marketers ask me if all brands should have a social presence I answer them with “remember those people who once-upon-a-time asked if they really needed a website for their business?” That is my tongue-in-cheek way of saying YES, however, the social presence you have will be determined by several factors. But, I am not discussing social strategy here.

First of all, I think we need to distinguish between creatives and analysts. I find it cumbersome to have to explain things to creatives. When I see creatives trying to work with data and obtain ACTIONABLE and STRATEGIC insights I think it hurts me as much as it would hurt them watching me attempt anything creative. We need to work towards our strengths and respect the space that each “expert” works in.

Metrics; why are they important and how do we make sure they are reliable? Metrics are important because they allow us to measure something. I’ll save the discussion about defining and selecting the correct metrics for another time.

If the same methodology is used each time the metric is calculated, then over time a benchmark can be created. This benchmark can then be used to compare with future values.

Metrics cannot stand alone and need to be:

  1. Aligned with the business
  2. Actionable
  3. Consistent
  4. Timeously defined (ideally before the action is taken)
  5. Time-trackable
  6. Used to benchmark against competitors

So, when it comes to metrics the emphasis should be based on selecting metrics that pertain to the business needs as well as metrics that can be measured and benchmarked over time.  It should not matter if the definition varies from time to time and that a metric with the same name with various methodologies are being used as long as you STICK TO THE SAME METHODOLOGY!

In all honesty, we would just be happy if people started using metrics for their social media platforms and sticking to them so that brands can benchmark accordingly.

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