I was talking with a client recently who said something that felt like a cold glass of water on a hot Iowa summer day.
We were looking at a social media report from another agency and he said:
All these likes, retweets, reach metrics, whatever—they don’t mean anything. At the end of the day, it looks great, but how did it help us accomplish our goal?
Likes, hashtag reach, and even comments do a poor job at reflecting the true value of social. They make the content creator(s) feel good, but it’s a small step in the overall social media metric journey.
Truthfully, the metrics of social media deal with intangibles: Trust, Authority, Affinity, and Loyalty. These are squishy relational terms that defy categorization. But to get down to the real-deal-value of social, you need to be able to put numbers to online relationships.
We do this already, though. It’s not a new way of thinking. Think about it: when you go to a conference or a networking event, what’s the “metric” we use to evaluate if it was worth our time?
How many new relationships we formed. That’s what. How do we “measure” that? With business cards. That’s how.
Social media is no different. For instance, one of the ways we measure Trust with our clients is by looking at how many times their content gets shared on Facebook. More than likes or comments, a share signifies a different level of relationship a fan has with your business.
A share is a proactive recommendation of an organization’s content. The sharer says to his or her community, “I agree with what they are saying. I place my seal of approval with this content piece and, thereby, the issuer of the content.”
Essentially, when someone shares your content, they are saying they Trust you to speak for them. Wow. What an amazing privilege!
A ginormous (technical term) relational dynamic (TRUST) wrapped up in that one little share on Facebook. Huge.
Oftentimes, determining the value of your social media content takes stepping back from the big picture (results) and asking, “when someone shares/likes/RTs/views our content, what does that mean from a relationship perspective?”
When you know the answer to those questions, well, that’s when things start to get fun.