As a marketer, it’s more confusing than ever to know when and how to apply the ever-increasing number of solutions designed to help monitor, measure and manage social media. Here’s a framework to help cut through the clutter.
|Solution||What they do||Who needs it||Who provides it|
|Monitoring||Watch and track mentions of an organization, brands, products and people – and those of competitors||Any company that cares about what is being said about them on social networks||Vendors include Radian6, Sprout Social, Trackur and Visible Technologies|
|Measurement||Measure social media engagement data||Organizations that want to capture, measure and interpret social media activity||Solutions include Adobe SocialAnalytics, IBM Coremetrics Social Analytics and Webtrends Social|
|Management||Help companies manage and maintain their social media accounts||Companies with multiple brand/market accountsThose in highly regulated industries||Vendors include Buddy Media, CoTweet and HootSuite|
|Metrics||Provide standards and KPIs for social media measurement||Any organization that measures or needs to measure its social media performance||Formal metrics include the Online Promoter Score, PRINT™ Index and the Social Business Index|
Let me know if you find this framework useful in helping you choose the right social media monitoring, measurement, management and metrics for your organisation.
In compiling this framework, here are my observations:
Vendor positioning is confusing
As Altimeter’s Jeremiah Owyang pointed out earlier in the year, buyers are often confused by the vendors in the Social Media Management Systems space. His own research found that “when removing company name from taglines, most taglines (aside from Buddy Media) were indistinguishable from the next.”
Measurement is mostly monitoring
Even for experienced buyers, the distinction between measurement and monitoring can be equally confusing. In fact, most solutions positioned in the social media measurement space are generally built on a monitoring base. It makes sense really – measurement is useless unless there is something to measure.
Measurement is not the same as metrics
One of the biggest areas of confusion however, is around measurement versus metrics. Measurement is an act, the process of measuring some dimension of social media. Metrics, on the other hand, are the standards used in the measurement process. So whilst metrics and measurement go hand in hand, they are not the same and, more importantly, the metrics need to be chosen before measuring.
Which brings me to my final observation:
Metrics are not the same as data
Companies often think that fans, followers, comments, shares and the like are the social media metrics they should track. They are not – they are just data points and should never be used in isolation for measurement purposes. Worryingly, far too many vendors operating in the social media measurement space are simply measuring these data points. They may chart them using pretty dashboards, but rarely link them to KPIs that senior executives actually care about. No wonder that justifying expenditure and investment in social media is so difficult.
Companies currently measuring – or planning to measure – their social media performance need to find formal, meaningful metrics that bridge the gap between these data points and business outcomes. These social KPIs are essential if companies are to get maximum benefit from their social media monitoring, measurement and management investments.