Ashley Mayo is a student at Columbia’s School of Journalism. She is one of ten students providing on the ground coverage of SMWNYC- all from the student’s perspective. Ashley is providing coverage of State Your Case: Research vs. Social Analytics, sponsored by ORC International.
“You shouldn’t still be having conversations about social ROI,” said Craig Hepburn, Global Director of Social Media for Nokia. “Since having conversations with people is such an important part of your business, how could you not be doing it?”
If 2011 was about convincing companies that social media is an essential tool, 2012 is about discovering ways to track it success. Are raw analytics more valuable than sentiment? Or is sentiment the most important metric? In an intriguing debate on Monday, four executives who manage the social growth of their companies addressed these very questions.
“Our approach is among the most pragmatic,” said Jeffrey Bodzewski, Director of Social Marketing at Aspen Marketing Services. “Our clients are on the direct marketing side and they value data. We’ve been pushing to truly monetize the social experience.”
Other kinds of projects, however, need to rely more heavily on the measurement of sentiment to accurately gauge success. Taulbee Jackson, President and CEO of Raidious, a digital communications company that helps build audiences for brands, oversaw the social media channels around Super Bowl XLVI. In addition to tracking reach, amplification, influence and activity, Jackson kept a close eye on sentiment. He seemed especially proud that sentiment metrics suggested that for every two members of the Super Bowl audience who had a negative experience, three had a positive experience. Since this ratio rarely reaches two-to-one, an overwhelmingly positive sentiment suggests that Jackson’s social media efforts were a resounding success.
Ultimately, a combination of tangible metrics and sentiment provides the richest depiction of a social media campaign. And an emerging trend is getting to know exactly who an organization’s fans are.
“We’ll see an increase in the understanding of the customer,” said Bodzewski, who cited Facebook Connect as allowing companies to know not only more about their fans, but also about the social graph of those fans. “More companies will prompt for this information.”
While the panel referred to a few specific tools they use to track such social metrics—Hootsuite plugins, Radian 6, Bit.ly, Viral Heat, Social Motion and Socialbakers—they were quick to point out that there is no magic tool that will help a company measure social media.
“It’s so frustrating when you hear people say that social media is free,” said Hepburn. “It requires a lot of resources and a lot of effort to pull it off. You have to put a lot in to get a lot out, and that’s something a lot of social media evangelists never say.”
Devotion to such resources, however, is no longer a bonus. It’s a necessity.
“At Nokia we now pit social media at the center,” said Hepburn. “The world today is connected. Instead of starting from a traditional perspective, we’re putting social at the center and building things around it. We’re socializing everything and putting people at the center of our decisions.”
Ashley Mayo joined Golf Digest Publications in 2007. As the associate editor, her responsibilities include writing monthly equipment articles, overseeing various aspects of golfdigest.com, and initiating social media campaigns. Mayo graduated from the University of Virginia in 2007, and she’s currently a part-time student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she’s studying to get her Master of Science degree in Digital Journalism. She currently lives in NYC, where she has miraculously managed to maintain a 4 handicap.