Although most people realize the value of social media marketing (in addition to paid social media performance advertising), few understand the subtleties of understanding how to measure its effectiveness. The secret is to measure engagement.
The relationship era
I was recently at a dinner with Doug Levy, the author of Can’t Buy Me Like, and Doug eloquently made the point that marketing has made a fundamental shift from persuading people to buy to creating trust in your product, and that is what persuades people to buy from you. The most successful marketers are ones who have the greatest expertise in gaining authentic relationships. Among those who have worked with and endorse Doug’s ideas are the CEOs of Whole Foods, Panera Bread and Patagonia, real companies that are highly profitable.
What you should measure
Given that you are building a relationship, you should measure the success of your social media marketing by how well it is creating interactions with customers and players. “Interactions” are not how many likes your Facebook page has. Interactions are not how many Twitter followers you have. You can always buy Likes and Twitter followers (USA Today once reported that 70 percent of President Obama’s Twitter followers were fake).
What you need to measure is the level of community engagement, which is done by tracking how many mentions and direct mention you get on Twitter, how often your content is pinned on Pinterest and how many times your posts are shared on Facebook. One of the best indicators is how many people are commenting on your company’s or developer’s blog. For every social media channel, you should figure out how engaged your players are.
Why it is important to measure engagement
One of the truisms in business is “What gets measured, gets done.” If you are focusing on one-way metrics such as likes or followers, either consciously or sub-consciously, you will pursue activities that get the most likes or followers. These won’t help build your player base or get existing players more engaged (and monetizing). By measuring engagement, you are better aligning the goals of your marketing with the goals of the company.