In the April 2009 article The Power of KPI – the Only Measurement that Matters, Rodger Roeser, president of Eisen Management Group, one of the largest and highest rated investor and public relations firms in the United States, focuses on tying objectives to measurable business goals directly related to familiar outcomes: margin, volume, profitability. His point is that any other measurements in business can be, well, pointless: if project performance cannot be measured relative to bottom line goals, then why would you do it?
1. Dialogue – get people to talk to you and each other through your media channels. This starts by listening to what they are saying. Carefully.
2. Advocacy – get people to talk about you and recommend you to their friends. This starts with interaction. Be helpful. Be client-focused. People will spread the word about your good deeds!
3. Forum – open the box and welcome the comments; good or bad, make sure you are listening, you talk back, and you resolve any problems as soon as possible. How you react, especially to the challenge of negative issues, is directly related to your credibility and therefore critical to your survival.
4. Innovation – ask customers what they want; surveys, contests, questions of the day. This is the “soft sell” approach that will keep your channels customer-focused.
- Quantitative indicators present as a number; e.g., sales volume.
- Operational indicators characterize existing company processes; e.g., production line down time related to training.
- Directional indicators specify whether an organization is getting better or not; e.g., customer retention.
- Financial indicators relate performance to return and margin
In social media it can be very difficult to pinpoint ROI because of the nature of what is being accomplished: building relationships and social capital is difficult to directly quantify. However, there are indicators of success that can be closely monitored. First, using the four main objectives, choose data that can be gathered to make an assessment.
- Channel Selection - The proper mix of social-media channels using the right content will leverage KPIs to their full potential. For example, if one of your KPIs is increased posting of photos or videos by customers, facebook would obviously be a better choice than twitter or a blog, but you’re also going to want a YouTube Channel so you can collect them, along with your own, in a central location.
- Organizational Integration – every part of your organization should be engaged and have clear roles and responsibilities for social media and for marketing. Traditionally, marketing plans focus mainly on sales, marketing and customer support departments. However, companies who understand that marketing must live and breathe “down in the trenches where the rubber meets the road” are bound for success. Every department will be affected, so each one should have its own set of objectives, KPIs, measurement tools, and reports.
- Social Media Policy – makes it crystal clear what you expect of your employees and contractors regarding engagement with customers and the general public as representatives of your company. The rules must be clear so that your outcomes are not tainted by poor response variables, or carelessly worded responses.
- Engagement – random posts and lack of response to constituent input is not enough. Focusing on tools, technology and cool applications is not enough. Talking about yourself is not enough. Your customers must be engaged by your organization. You must be willing to allow them to interact with you one-on-one and get to know you. You have to build and then belong to your community, and then continue to nurture authentic relationships by focusing on your customers’ stories.
In summary, take some general advice from Strategic Advisers LLC:
- Build a social-media plan strategically, one careful step at a time.
- Start with the end in mind and work backwards: identify best methods for measurement, and align media channels and metrics with goals in mind.
- Construct a diverse, interactive channel selection congruently over time in order to obtain the furthest reach. Leverage these assets to create a competitive advantage by helping differentiate your organization in the marketplace so it can be more flexible and responsive than its competitors.
- A social media network built upon a solid foundation of email newsletters, in-person events, focused direct mail, and a central website hub will get the word out most effectively.
- Measureable business objectives provide opportunities to learn about customers, their preferred interactions, their understanding of brand, and value received.
- Finally, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Consult the experts. We consult with one another, so why shouldn’t you?