The real measure of social media success is: how does it help my business?

The worst thing about social media is not being unable to measure it – in fact there is arguably too much to measure.

Likes, retweets, favourites, new fans, members, comments, complaints… it’s a long list.

But on their own, or even taking a couple together – these measurements are a distraction from what really matters. Just like you can convince yourself that you’re doing important work when you are down a wormhole on Twitter – yet you know that when your crunch time comes around, that won’t wash at all.

The real measure of success needs to be: how much does social help my business? Far too often, social is still evaluated within silos such as PR or promotion, and not at the highest level of a business where the big goals sit.

For that, you need to look beyond how much people love you on Twitter, or how many new fans you acquired when you ran that Facebook giveaway.

Business goals have long been measured in a set of ways that, while not perfect, do indicate clear success. Category growth, share of market etc are measured by ROI, customer retentions, customer growth and the like.

So far, social, where it is measured at all, isn’t held to the same scrutiny. This is why budgets have been held back, and why social is still grasping for new tools, new toys, new ways of ‘engaging customers’ – without asking what that engagement is worth.

Social simply has to stand up to the same scrutiny as other mechanics for business success.

One of the biggest reasons for social’s lack of accountability so far is the lack of a decent framework by which to measure the impact of social commentary. And that’s largely because no two businesses are the same and what’s important to one company can be irrelevant to the next.

Yomego has been working on developing an answer to just this for a number of months now – a metric that ties social activity into business success, whatever the aims of a company. We’ve worked with experts in social media, PR, marketing and media – as well as academics and most importantly – clients, to ensure it stands up to scrutiny.

It’s been fascinating and challenging – but most of all, it’s been collaborative throughout, and continues to be so. We’ve been inviting interaction and feedback from across the industry on the metric itself. In a sector that changes so fast, being open in this way is the only feasible option.

The metric starts from a different point to most – the highest level business goals – and works from there. It doesn’t just look at one area, count a single interaction stream or add pointless weightings, but puts business needs – whatever they are – at its heart – and can then be flexible enough to work with that in mind.

Take a look at the free whitepaper here. And please do let us know – good or bad – what you think.