Posted August 27, 2010 7:55 pm by with 5 comments

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63% of marketers are already using social media marketing while more than half of those who aren’t currently involved said they were planning on jumping in probably within the next year. But why? Extra Mile Audience Research conducted a study for PivotCon and here’s what they found out:

People said they used social media marketing because:

— We realized that social media marketing is a powerful tool for brands or products 70%

— Our audience is on social media sites 62%

— We saw that social media users/always-on consumers gather information differently 47%

— To use social media as part of our customer support and relationship management 40%

The study also indicated that almost all marketers planned to increase their expenditures in this area. So, that’s a lot of people who believe that social media is worth throwing money at. But here’s the interesting part,

“43% of marketers who conduct social media marketing have not begun implementing any measurement or analysis programs.”

Then add this:

“Despite all of the focus and investment in social media marketing, only 30% consider their social media marketing efforts “very successful.” 59% rate their efforts as “somewhat successful.”

Where else is this kind of return on investment acceptable? Think about this in real life. You take your car to the mechanic who is supposed to be the best in town. You pay him to make your car “run better” but you don’t define what constitutes “better.” You drive away later poorer and no wiser. I wouldn’t call that a success.

You’d never stand for this in the marketing world outside of social media, either. If you paid an advertising agency money to deliver an effective campaign and they came back with a bill and piece of paper that said, we “think” it worked, you wouldn’t hire these people again.

And yet, we return to Twitter and Facebook and YouTube over and over with no plan, no means of measurement and all because we believe these are “powerful tools.”

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use social media, you should, but why not apply the same standards you’d use in any other situation. Why settle for “somewhat successful?”

Of the small percentage who did say that have a plan, 93% of them said they use website data trackers and Google analytics to measure the success of the program. 56% said they were using some kind of Twitter analytics and an even smaller number was using link tracking tools.

Social Media is still in its infancy so I have no doubt that in the next year or two there will be more sophisticated tools for tracking the effectiveness of a retweet or a Facebook “like”. But that doesn’t mean we should all sit and wait. Find what you can measure and set a goal. Maybe it’s an additional number of followers, or counting the clickthroughs on one promotional tweet, maybe you want to raise the number of people who comment on your YouTube video or grab a widget for use on their own blog. There’s no proof that any of these things will help your profit margin rise, but keeping your name in front of the public can’t hurt.

For more information, download the free full report at

Do you have social media goals? And if so, how do you measure your success?

  • I fully agree with you that tracking is essential to any marketing campaign. You need to know what works before you can improve. Currently the only things I am using is my WP plug-in and the built in tracker on my hosting provider. I know there are better ways out there, but I am unsure what to use and how to set it up. I don’t have a large budget (or any budget) at this time for add on trackers. So I really don’t know where to go from here.

  • The mistakes I see being made is trying to measure Social engagement with the same tools we measure every other digital touch point. In my view email, search, even banner ads, have spoiled marketers into thinking everything can be and must be measured with the metrics used to gauge success in other mediums. I am not sue of what the next stage will be but right now as we are building our Social Media audiences, and testing, I have three stages with which I measure… #1 is Audience growth, #2 is Reactivity… getting them to take an action, and #3 Stickiness… keeping them coming back, engaged and interacting.

    In addition setting expectations is important. As Cynthia states setting goals for number of follows/fans and how you interact and engage with them and them with you, can be very useful. Growth of you audience is very important and as clearly outlined in the study by CMB,, consumers engaged via social media are more likely to buy and recommend.

    Five reasons corporations are not using Social Media effectively… 1. They don’t talk about anything broader than their own products, 2. They listen to customers but don’t take any action (which means they aren’t really hearing), 3. Companies can’t expect to have a strong social media presence when social sites are blocked internally to employees, 4. There is a fear that exists about jumping in, but while there have certainly been some hiccups and miscues along the way, social media has yet to be the undoing of any company, 5. When employees are more concerned with what’s in or out of their job description than doing the right thing to help the customer, that’s not a culture that’s likely to build trust and advocacy for a brand and there is no way social media efforts can be effective.

    • The fact that we’re using metrics we’re familiar with to measure social marketing is an interesting point, Ted. Maybe we shouldn’t be. Maybe there is a magic number that we don’t even know about yet that is the best measure of success.

      I’m often fighting the numbers game with people who believe that if 100 Twitter followers is good then 1,000 is better. They don’t care if the 1,000 are spammers, porn accounts or dead accounts. Where’s the gain in that? I’d rather have ten people who are interested in my product follow me then a 1,000 who wouldn’t want it if I paid them to take it.

  • Yea. SMO (Social Meida Optimization) is the future.

  • We are also using SMO for our business. In future it will be indispensable to reach new customers and to spread important news. But the success measurement should not exclusively be based on simple figures. The positive impact of SMO on soft facts like companie image etc. is enormous and only imprecisely to measure.