Social Media – What’s the Point?
To summarize, social media does not work like traditional marketing, where we promote something in order to try to get the viewer/listener/reader to take a specific action. Social media works by building a relationship with people until they trust you enough to join you in what you’re doing.
The article prompted an excellent question posted to the comments by Ben Woodard:
What would be the best way to measure the success of social media for a church? # of Followers, # of fans, response to calls of action?
Dan’s article and Ben’s questions got me thinking on two points.
- Is social media really a conversation?
- If so, what should we be measuring?
One Social Media Process
If you read between the lines, Dan’s article walks us through one possible process for how a person might engage with your organization through social media.
- View – The first thing someone does is they follow your Twitter feed or they become a fan of your Facebook page. At this point, they have started viewing your tweets and updates.
- Engage – The next thing a person might do is engage with you. This is the conversation. They retweet you, comment on a Facebook update, or post a comment on your blog.
- Act – Eventually, you hope the person moves from engagement to action. If you’re a business, you hope they buy something. If you’re a church, you hope they come to a service.
With this process, an organization’s primary goal is to get people to act. And like any process, there are steps or sub-goals. It’s important to monitor people’s progress through the process so we can see how well we’re doing that and where people may be getting stuck along the way.
Based on this process with these goals, we would want to measure all 3 steps in the process: followers, engagement, and actions.
Is that the only point?
That process is one of the ways social media can work. But is it the only way?
I don’t think so.
Take for example the Center for Church Communications. They’re primarily about engaging people in a conversation about how churches can communicate more effectively. Their primary goal is engagement not any specific action (though after I publish this they may tell me otherwise. )
Another example of a different process is a church that decides it’s not going to engage people through social media, but instead they just want to use social media as a way to deliver news to their members. They set up a Facebook Page and a Twitter account and just post links to news and announcements because that’s the way their members want to get their news. In this case, the church would want to track fans/followers and perhaps actions (like completion of online registration forms for classes/activities if they have them). But there’s no need to track engagement because engagement is not their goal.
Dell has generated $6.5M of sales through Twitter. There’s a metric for you.
Some companies use social media to resolve customer service issues. They measure the number of issues address each month.
What’s your point?
There are lots of possible goals an organization may want to accomplish with social media. What about your organization?
Has your organization defined its social media goal? If so, what are they?
Is your organization tracking metrics related to social media? If so, are those metrics based on your goals?