It is not a new thing to spend money on marketing based on the number of people who will be exposed to the effort. It is a new thing to know how much money was earned as a result of money spent on a marketing effort.

While media outlets have always been able to tell advertisers the size of their audience through subscription numbers, average viewers and the like, they could never measure the outcomes that really matter to a business - they still can't. And even in the social business era, justifying a marketing effort has continued to be a measurement of buzz, chatter, and the general response created by what was shared. Is that enough?

For most brands, the goal is to make money and grow. So money spent on marketing or any other investment needs to measure how it makes money and moves the business toward its goals or it just doesn't make sense. Does it?

Measuring What Matters

If you can really measure the return on investment (ROI) made in the social space with real business measures then you can start optimizing your efforts based on what has worked or not worked in your past efforts.

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Last week our friends at Measurely shared a story we told to the crew at Hemmings House of how we measure the outcomes of our social media efforts using their incredible tools (see video at top of page). To make our story clear, here's what matters to us:

  1. Who are the people that are sharing our stuff and causing sales to happen for us? While we might get excited about people sharing our content, what our business really needs to care about is identifying which of those people has enough influence in their networks to influence our sales. Measurely shows us exactly who those influencers are so our people can get to know those people and learn how to serve them better.
  2. Who are our advocates, the influencers who regularly and consistently share our stuff and help us grow our company? They are as much a part of our team as contractors and employees and those relationships matter to us as much.
  3. What content are we sharing that is leading to sales for us? We put in a lot of effort to curate great content and to create some of our own. We're a small business and that takes a lot of time and effort and we don't want to waste our time creating and sharing things that aren't causing sales to happen.
  4. What online communities are influencing sales of our stuff? If we know that we can put more effort into getting to know those communities better. It's a big, open, online world and we can spend time getting know almost any group of lovely people out there. But our business goals lead us to look for the communities that need and want what we sell so we can spend more time participating in those communities.

For Example

If Kelly shares 30 of our online assets (reshares something we posted, likes us on Facebook etc.) in a month and Bob shares 3, the buzz game tells us we should really get to know Kelly better. But if Measurely shows us that Kelly led to only one signup for our courses and Bob led to 20, business logic tells me Bob is our guy. He's the advocate who is sharing and influencing our brand and buzz alone would have put him low on our priority list.

Get it? Buzz is good. Measured growth is better.

What About People?

Yes, social business is about people connecting to people, building relationships, getting to know how to help, and adjusting products or services for the people who support the brand.

But people socialize with people, not brands. A brand can't socialize any more than it can eat a sandwich. Brands can't talk and walk so brand content needs to be as focused on the things that will cause growth as possible so the brand community will have something to talk about that is relevant and useful.

Measurely has become an essential partner to help us support our client's growth goals and to help us grow our own business. We are more than happy to be advocates for them. So important has their product becomes to Sociallogical that we even created a central business service around it.

As we have said before, social activity is not busywork, it's business intelligence. With Measurely's insight we can report strategic intelligence to our clients that can make them smart in the social space and act toward growth of their companies. Without Measurely, true social optimization can't happen and we are back to guess work. That's something that was not possible before or since the emergence of social media.

How much time or money would your company spend on an activity whose effect didn't help the business grow? Probably not a lot. But without measuring the bottom line effect of the effort, how would you know?

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