This week in #CMGRClass, we were lucky enough to have Olivier Blanchard, the author of Social Media ROI, join us in our biweekly Hangout on Google+. We were asked to write some questions down ahead of time, relevant to his book and expertise. Given my current position as a social media strategist at SU’s IT Services, I was eager to hear Olivier’s commentary on using data metrics to improve your social media efforts.
One of the issues I’ve run into at work is that my boss and coworkers are unsure of what sort of goals they have for their social media presence. Part of the issue is that no one person is really devoted to working on our social platforms, it’s more of an extension of our phone support services instead. As such, when I asked about specific metrics that I should be looking at in my daily work, they wanted to defer to me to figure it out. That’s not something I would mind doing, but I’m still rather new to this particular organization, so I’m not well-versed in the overarching strategy and goals that already exist. I’m flying a bit blind until I learn them or help my superiors develop some more concrete wants and need in terms of data.
So, when the conversation with Olivier turned to finding and demonstrating value in your social media efforts, I knew it was the right time to ask the question burning in my brain: what questions can I ask to help my employers figure out what they want out of social media? If they’re paying me to look at Twitter all day, I’d love to give them some data and results that they can in turn act on to improve their services and better address customer needs. Olivier’s response, borrowed from Brains On Fire, was “What would you like to be celebrating in six months?” He went on to talk about how social media for customer service might prove to be a better medium for resolving issues, and one person on Twitter may accomplish just as much as three people on phone calls. Speed of response and speed of resolution were other metrics he recommended looking at, but he also brought up the point that if a leader can’t tell you why you’re using social media for business, there’s a problem with the leadership that should be fixed. I agree with that point, and I’ve gotten the impression that social media was adopted in this office more on a hunch that it would be useful, rather than with a clear goal of extending our service mediums to better meet our customers’ needs. Now that we have these accounts, and I’m in a position to influence our direction, I would like to help establish real goals, and I think the language Olivier offered will be helpful in having that discussion with my superiors.
As this problem has been on my mind for a few weeks, I’ve done some research of my own into what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) similar organizations use, which metrics work, which are just for show, and so on. I found an article on a Harvard Business Review blog, entitled Why Your Social Media Metrics Are a Waste of Time, by Ivory Madison. Madison writes that pageviews and unique visitors, Twitter followers and Facebook likes aren’t exactly relevant to running a business on their own. Instead, she advises that actionable metrics that align with clear business goals are better, something you could present to your CEO with no further explanation. I’m inclined to agree.
What KPIs are most relevant to your business? Were they difficult to establish?