Measuring Success with Social Media

I just finished reading an article in Business Week entitled “Beware Social Media Snake Oil”, and a sentence caught my eye. “Success is defined more often by numbers of Twitter followers, blog mentions, or YouTube hits than by traditional measures, such as return on investment.”

It reminded me of a perennial situation in the contact center—we have incredibly powerful tools for routing interactions and measuring what people do in the contact center. We sometimes fall into the trap of managing to measurements such as average handle time or interactions taken, when the real ROI to the company may be somewhere else, such as the sales figures brought in by the contact center agents. Why do we do it? Because the measurement is there—it’s easy to obtain, and as a result, we sometimes forget that managing handle time may not actually deliver the results we’re looking for. Let’s face it, the path of least resistance when staring at a number in a dashboard or on a wallboard is to build our management and performance goals around that number. The problem is that it may not focus us on the right business goals.

Just as we need to remind ourselves of the purpose of selected measurements in the contact center, we need to do the same with social media. If the purpose is to raise brand awareness, it’s good to have a number of followers or YouTube hits. The number of tweets is informational. But isn’t the real gold in the measurement you get the next time you conduct a brand audit, verifying whether more of your target audience recognizes your brand, and whether their impression of your organization is moving in the direction you wanted? Determining how many heard of your organization, or had the brand reinforced via social media helps you determine whether your hard-earned cash was spent in the right way, much as it would with any other channel.

It seems to me while social media itself is new, the measurements that really matter and focus us on core business goals are the classic ones – the building of the brand, the increase in sales, customer loyalty, and positive recommendations to others. And, just as in the contact center, we can end up focusing solely on the numbers that are easily obtainable rather than on the business outcomes we are trying to achieve.

So as this will be my last blog entry for the year, let’s take a New Year’s resolution to remember to focus on the right things for our business, our friends, our families, and ourselves. And please share your thoughts with us on how to measure success with social media.

Happy Holidays,

 Rachel Wentink