Having Olivier Blanchard join us for our #CMGRclass hangout was a great opportunity. He had insightful comments and answers to our questions. His book, Social Media ROI, is about managing and measuring social media efforts and it was helpful and interesting to hear directly from the author.
This response from Olivier really stood out to me:
You need to know how to measure and operate outside of superficial measurements such as follower numbers. Because once social media efforts start failing, organizations can buy followers to keep those numbers up, but they don’t really mean anything if they are not real.
The first step in figuring out what your company or organization needs to measure is figuring out what your main goals are. Here are a few examples:
- Increased participation from community members
- More sales of your product or service
- Increase awareness of your company/organization
- Monetary donations from your community members
Social Media Engine has a great article on “Social Media ROI: How to Develop a Strategic Plan” that will provide you with more information on how to define and develop a strategic plan for your organization.
Although followers on social networking sites are important, those numbers only go so far. You may see an organization that has tens of thousands of followers on Twitter, but do they know anything about their followers, are they interacting with them, are they engaging?
In addition to measuring follower numbers, here are a two (of the many) things that I believe community and social media managers should be measuring and tracking:
1. Social media interaction
As your community grows, it is important to track what kind of content they like. Does a certain type of Facebook post get more likes than another? Did you have an unusually low or unusually high amount of retweets on a particular tweet? Did a blog post get a crazy number of shares? If you track the interactions you have with your community members you will get a better idea of what they like and don’t like. That way you can produce the content they are looking for.
2. Number of online relationships that turn into real life relationships
Gaining followers online is just the beginning; developing a relationship with each follower is the difficult part. A really great way to connect with your online community on another level, is to host events. Although online relationships are valuable and can be very strong, they cannot completely replace the importance of interacting with someone in person. When you host events, keep a guest list and track who keeps coming back. Chances are the people who attend your events are also the ones who are highly active in your community online. Building real live relationships can make your online community that much stronger.
What measurements are most important when managing your community? What are your favorite tools to use? Please share!