In social marketing, behavioral change is one of the key benchmarks of success. Some of the most influential social marketing campaigns over the last decade have motivated people to change their habits in a way that benefits their health, as well as the wellbeing of those around them.
With the advent of social media, measurement has evolved. We now consider metrics such as the number of followers or “fans”, in addition to traditional metrics such as behavior change.
But are these types of social media metrics still relevant? Has the bar been raised?
“To move to the next stage in the social media evolution, brands need to start focusing on actively engaging their fans over a sustained period of time. An active fan is one who has a relationship with a brand and, at least once a month, reacts to posts on the brand page, indicates a liking for various content, retweets a brand’s messages or creates original content on the page.”
Ogilvy has established a proprietary approach to measuring social media initiatives, Conversation Impact, which segments and incorporates metrics into three key categories: Reach/Awareness, Preference, and Action:
- Reach and awareness metrics include the number of followers a campaign or brand has on Twitter
- Preference metrics include sentiments of online conversation and fan counts on Facebook
- Advocacy and action metrics include the number of individuals who share a message with friends or download an application or widget from a campaign website
A self-report of engaging in a specific behavior—when directly linked to a campaign’s messaging—is also considered an “advocacy” and “action” metric. This can be measured using a specially developed application to allow such reporting.
But despite gains made in measuring social media’s inherent value, new questions such as Gefen’s have emerged. He believes we are nearing the end of social media’s buzz stage – where everyone is doing something just because everyone else is doing it. And he may be right. Research indicates that current social media metrics realistically serve as a proxy for stronger, yet-to-be-identified measurements.
What do you think? Have we evolved beyond fan counts?
Keep following the Social Marketing exCHANGE blog to learn more about the future of social media metrics, and their role in social marketing interventions.