Measuring the Marketing Value of Social Media

How to Measure Your Brand’s Online Influence (Inc.)

Analytics for Measuring Social MediaMarketers are creatures that feast on numbers.  Metrics are used for such important marketing functions as uncovering opportunities, creating marketing plans, and determining if decisions actually yield positive results.  While research has been an integral part of marketing for a long time, the explosion of data available from customers’ interaction on the Internet has vaulted analysis of metrics to a new level.  Unfortunately, not all of this information is easily understood.

For instance, one area that has been difficult to measure is the impact social media has on marketing.  Everyone believes Facebook, Twitter and the like are important for marketing, but placing an actual monetary value on this has been problematic.  One reason is that it has been hard to connect a social media posting to customers making an actual purchase.  Yes, the referral measures are there (e.g., Facebook’s Like, Twitter’s Retweet), but many marketers want the answer to a simple question: “If I spend the money to use social media what money am I getting back?”

As this story discusses, several companies are trying to provide some answers to the social media measurement question.  All companies discussed are small, start-up firms and they offer analytic tools to help measure the “influence” a person, brand or company has within the social media space.

So how exactly is the information used?  While the services discussed cannot convert a specific posting, tweet or other social media communication into real dollars, they may be able to direct marketers to sites on the Internet that exert influence over the marketer’s target market.  In other words, these metrics tools could help identify Opinion Leaders.

Of course, this still does not address marketers’ concern of how social media translates into real money, but it may be a start.

Chief marketing officers surveyed by BazaarVoice and the CMO Club were likely to say their business engaged in at least three forms of social media. But nearly 35 percent of all CMOs didn’t know if their Facebook presence yielded any return on investment.

Once the marketer identifies social media influencers, what can they do to take advantage of this?

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