Monday, August 6, 2012

How to Measure Your Social Media Ripple Effect - Today!

Justin Bieber has 45.5 million Facebook fans.  Skittles has 22 million.  Taco Bell has a little less than 9 million.  So whose post worked the hardest for them?  Taco Bell.

When every dollar counts in todays economy you need to make sure you can show social media impact.   While studying effectiveness measures in the Northwestern Medill IMC program I found this simple, easy way to show the ripple effect of social media posts and how they work hard for your brand or business.  This blog will take you through an easy calculation to show your organization what impact social media posts are making and how you measure up against some of the big players in social.

Socialbakers, a social media company, has developed one measure that takes into account all available social media measures to come up with one deterministic score – engagement rate.  Engagement, to them, measures if your social media move did something – someone changed their behavior because of it and others will see the message as a result.  In essence how many social ripples took place in response to your post.
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The measure is simple:  Count the number of reactions (tweets, likes, shares, comments, replies, etc.) you get per day divided by the number of social media moves you made, divided by the number of followers or fans you had that day X 100. 
This analysis works because it is not all about one single metric, like fans or retweets.  It measures real actions.  The best part – all metrics are publically available so you can track not only your own brands but any brand.

Let’s do the math.  Skittles made a post on July 22.  Doing the Facebook calculation the engagement rate is 0.051.

Taco Bell made a post on July 19 and doing the same calculation the engagement rate is 0.141. 

Justin Bieber wrote a post after the Teen Choice Awards which only received an engagement rate of 0.074.

All fan pages have impressively high numbers but the best engagement was seen after a post from the page with the lowest number of fans.  The post worked for them on that day.  The Taco Bell post had the most impactful ripple effect.

This engagement rate measure is so easy you need to start tracking today.  Score your social media work.  See how it stacked up against the brands you consider competitors.  Are you winning? 

Here are three simple action items that you can do right now to show the effect of your posts:
  1. Calculate, calculate, calculate and find brands that are scoring high in engagement.  They could be direct competitors, peer companies or just cool brands or people.
  2. Track their social media posts and see what posts score high engagement numbers.
  3. Look at what they are posting about (questions, surveys, photos, funny tidbits), what time of day, what fans are saying and how they are sharing and try it with your brand.  
If your scores are lackluster you have all the information you need to become a social media marketing star.  Find comparisons and measure - constantly - to show effect.  Northwestern's Medill IMC program primes its students to measure the value of our work and this calculation is the best example of how you can refresh your measurement tools with a dynamic, value-added analysis.

Nancy Slivoski is currently a graduate student in the Integrated Marketing Communications program at Northwestern University.  She worked for over ten years at The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company in Communications and Analytics.  Nancy is looking to make her passion for analytics the focus of her next position.  She reads and posts information on Marketing and Social Analytics via her Twitter account @chgonancy.

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