Social media – dependent on human behaviour

As social media grows and becomes established as a means of communications, marketing and communications departments are becoming increasingly concerned with measurability.

But, social media works with people and so results are dependent on human behaviour.

There are conventionally two spheres of social media evaluation; social metrics and business metrics. Social metrics are ‘soft’ metrics, things like follower numbers, retweets, impressions, subscribers, shares and comments. Business metrics are altogether harder, looking at website visits and source data, URL click-thros, conversion rates and average spend; they’re about sales and the bottom line. That’s your Google or website analytics data. (Paul Sutton’s the social web social media, PR 2.0 & digital communications)

Sean Clark’s ROI in Social Media: Taking the Numbers Out of the Equation on the other hand identifies the problem of social media’s young age in evaluating results.

The key, as with any communications strategy is to agree the aims and the results, which will be evaluated, early on in the planning process therefore defining expectations and ensuring all parties are fully aware of the restraints and opportunities which are in place.