Virtually every organization has taken the plunge into the world of social media, but relatively few are doing it effectively. The best social media campaigns don't just post content on social media platforms, they monitor their campaigns closely, measure their results carefully and adjust their campaigns accordingly. Brad McCormick, Principal at 10 Louder Strategies, has led the creation and execution of multiple award-winning, integrated campaigns. As a featured speaker at PR News' Social Media Measurement Conference on Oct. 2 in New York, he'll be laying out the nuts and bolts of social media measurement.
PR News: How is the use of social media affecting how organizations attempt to achieve their business objectives?
Brad McCormick: It’s hard to say. There are so many different kinds of organizations at various stages of social integration and maturity. Ideally, social media should make strategic planning against those objectives more inclusive, more collaborative—between departments, between agencies, between time horizons. But that’s the idea. It’s easier said than done.
PR News: With so many social media platforms to choose from, how do organizations set priorities in terms of which networks are best suited to their brand?
McCormick: Not all social networks are created equal. The first step is to establish clear objectives and strategies. If your battle strategy is to win the war with air superiority, you probably shouldn’t invest too much time building tanks. Likewise, if you want to raise awareness about a very specific technical aspect of your product, you probably shouldn’t spend too much time with Foursquare. Starting with the strategy—and recognizing the strengths and weakness of each social network—as well as the demographics and psychographics of its users---that’s the best way to prioritize social network.
PR News: What is one key thing most often overlooked when analyzing social media metrics?
McCormick: The story should never end. Metrics are about cause and effect: Increased engagement is a cause, and increased sentiment or increased volume could be an effect. But now increased sentiment becomes a cause. So what is the effect of that? Sure, joining the pieces all the way to the lead or the conversion or the sale may be difficult, but a good metrics person never stops asking: Where does the story go next?
PR News: What is the most common mistake you see when it comes establishing measurement goals?
McCormick: Thinking in a vacuum. Internally, social media should touch different departments. Externally, social media touches different marketing channels. So when setting goals, keep in mind that other marketing channels help—or hinder—the performance of social media. Social media planners need to be diplomats within their own organization—or with their clients—and understand what the activities and historical performance of other channels are before they establish their social media measurement goals.
PR News: What’s the key idea/thought you want to leave the conference attendees with?
McCormick: I really like the boiling water analogy for justifying intense measurement. Water boils at 212° F. Not at 210° or 211°. It has to be 212° F. Even if you have 99.5% of the heat you need—your water is at 210° F—it won’t boil. Yet if you just tweak one or two small things—move the pot slightly to the right or increase the fuel a hair—suddenly everything changes. The water starts to boil. I think that is the good metaphor for the state of social media at many organizations: They have been putting lots of effort into it—lots of time and energy—but nothing is “boiling”. Instead of getting frustrated and dismissing social media entirely-organizations should instead look for those missing, magical “degrees” that could change everything. It’s the idea of perpetual beta — and never giving up. But the only way to find those missing, magic degrees is to measure. There is no other way. Measurement is the key.
Attend PR News' Social Media Measurement Conference on Oct. 2 in NYC and learn more from social media experts like Brad McCormick.
Follow Jamar Hudson: @jamarhudson