It is certain that while Social Media is easily available and can be networked with, it still does require investment, skill and thorough knowledge. These investment at minimal level would be time, energy, technology [hardware, software the web and internet connectivity], dedicated human resource. Add to this just like any other marketing campaign we will require objectives and KPIs Key Process Indicators as well.
There is lot of research and discussion going on in the area of 'how to arrive at a ROI for Social Media'. There are two unique groups at the two ends of a spectrum. One group profess that Social Media has not as yet reached the stage of measurement and the other group states that Social Media can be measured. What is your take on this? Can Social Media be measured - as yet?
What we need to understand is that while we do measure the Social Media space we need to be very clear on what the parameters are to be. Naturally the most upfront one is mentioning that if the objective is achieved then all other things would fall in place. Now the objective for Social Media need not always be in terms of quantifiable terms. It could be qualitative and / or quantitative. The measuring process works just like any other profit and loss system however the parameters are very very different. Add to this not only are the parameters different but the scale of these parameters are also different.
One needs to understand 'how Social Media works' before diving into a measuring chase. This is the most critical part. If one does not know, understand and comprehend how Social Media actually works, how it performs and how to go about it then one is not [with due respect] qualified to establish the measuring criteria. As you read below you will get an understanding of this statement.
While measuring the Social Media efforts we need to consider the below parameters. The below parameters are indications of the various factors that are to be 'considered' and 'understood' before we start to set a formula:
Time: Time is of great essence here in Social Media. At one level we need to be clear that immediate results are not every time the only correct way for measure. Social Media by its nature works on two levels one is engagement levels with the members and the SEO level. If we go a little deep both engagement and SEO get better with consistent efforts.They require the time factor to get established. For instance the positive engagement which eventually should lead to loyalty and viral effect cannot happen at once by merely setting up of a Facebook Fan Page for instance and getting people to join in. To develop relevant interactions the brand and the customer set would require time. The next part is SEO. SEO work is like an investment. You consistently work on the SEO aspect while working online. The efforts put in today will reap you rewards in the near future.
Number of followers / fans / members: This is the most sought after target. followers / fans / members.