Before diving into the use of social media in business, consider the basic measurement methods as they apply to the business use of social technology. Chapter 6 explores measurement and metrics in-depth. As an initial step into the integration of metrics SOCIAL BUSINESS AND MEASUREMENT within your social programs, however, and to get you thinking about this aspect of undertaking a social business effort consider the assessment of participation, applied knowledge transfer, and the measurement of social activity in general as a starting point to a quantitative guide in building and running your social business.
Collaboration sitting atop the engagement process is the defining expression of measurable engagement. Marketers often speak of engagement: For example, one might focus on time spent on a page, or the number of retries a customer is willing to undergo before meeting with success. Measures such as returning visitors, connected to concepts such as loyalty are also used as surrogates for engagement.
While all of these have value within the discipline of marketing and most certainly have a role in establishing efficacy of brand and promotional communications over a period of time they do not in and of themselves provide a quantitative basis for the stronger notions of engagement as defined in the social business context. The direct observation of collaboration does.
At the most basic level, as with any online interaction, the activity itself can be tracked. Accessing a page, submitting a form, downloading a file and similar content measures provide a well-understood framework for measurement. However, given the existence of profiles (explored more in the next section) and the behaviors associated with curation rating, ranking, etc. many more interesting and useful metrics can be established and used to create very robust measures of participation.
Applied Knowledge Transfer
Understanding and tracking participation is obviously important in managing the growth and development of a collaborative community. However, participation is only half the challenge. Participation speaks to action but not necessarily value. The key to measuring the value of participation is simultaneously ensuring that something useful as defined within the community and then connected to your business objectives—is Social Networking for Business For more on the direct application of social networking and social computing for business, consider reading Rawn Shah’s Social Networking for Business, published in 2010.
It’s a lot like the general notion that having momentum is good. True enough, but ensuring that it is not primarily the angular variety is also important. How do we keep from spinning in circles? By tying levels of participation and collaboration to an ultimate endpoint the accumulation of applied knowledge, for example, a wiki of customer solutions that have been tested and are known to work in the context of specific business objectives.
In addition to the measures of what is happening within the community, brand outpost or the internal online workspace, where the activities are occurring also lends itself to measurement