7 ways to measure Success in the Influence Economy

We live in an economy which is designed around People. People trust each other more than ads, targetted or interrupted, People trust each other more than test results, and people trust each other more than third party information. The Influence economy is powered by conversations around personal recommendations.

The Influence Economy is the basis of social media, and the ‘social consumer’ as engaged by Starbucks, Dell and Groupon, lives on instant update sharing on social spaces ranging from Facebook, to FourSquare, Google Buzz, and almost every application which is now available on a mobile format- be it the laptop, the netbook, a range of smart phones, and the iPAD.

Marketers are now re-calibrating their efforts around creating business models that work with the “social consumer”, and the way she behaves; that’s the subject of a different post. Marketers are also looking for analytics and tools that will help them justify their spends on social media, and ask for bigger, much bigger bucks if they can demonstrate a Return on Investment that makes the strategy deliver the viral, ten-bagger results that would get the C-level execs sit up and take notice.

Social Media Metrics

There are several elements that you can look at when measuring the success (or lack thereof) of your social media marketing efforts; and of course it depends entirely on what your overall marketing goals are. Is it to push sales, drive engagement, increase awareness? Whatever your success metrics are and in addition to the above ‘engagement’ metrics; here are some others to consider as well:

1.       Content Consumption – if you have a blog – which you should, a good way to measure engagement is to monitor who is reading your blog, where they are coming from and what content they are reading. You can run web analytic reports that will show you the most popular content on your site and/or blog. This data will also show you how long they were on that particular page, where they came from, and also the bounce rate (percent of visitors who left your site after visiting a particular page).

2.      Content Contribution – assuming you have a blog/wiki and allow for comments; a quick and easy metric would be to monitor the number of visitors who are actually interacting with your content.

3.      Social Bookmarking – In other words, who is actually adding your site/article/blog posts to sites like Del.icio.us, Reddit, and Stumbleupon. There are a couple of methods you can leverage to look at this metric. You can use your web analytic tool and run a click map report and see how many web visitors are clicking on the social bookmarking icons. Or, you can simply create profiles in each of the bookmarking sites and search for your urls.

4.      Subscribing to a RSS feed – you can also measure how many of your readers are actually subscribing to your RSS feeds.

5.      Emailing posts – assuming you allow for your blog postings to be emailed to others, you can use your blog platform tool like WordPress to see how many emails are actually being sent through your form.

6.      Who is talking about you – there are a couple of different ways you can do this, and it’s not an exact science. Again, with WordPress, they have the functionality that allows you to see which other site(s) are linking to your site. It’s located right in the dashboard so once you log in, you can see it right away. You can also go to blog search engine Technorati and search your domain. Lastly, you can always use the old SEO trick by searching for your domain in Google, Yahoo and Bing with the following: link:http://www.yourwebsite.com. These numbers will never match up of course but it serves as a good indicator to see who is talking about you (or at least linking to you and your content).

7.      Profile Engagement: So, you may not have a blog but perhaps you have a profile on  Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or Mybloglog. You can always apply the same metrics already mentioned above; as well as monitor the number of friends that you have, total profile visits, etc. Each social networking site offers some type of vitality metric to see what’s going on in your communities

So let’s get back to the basics! if RoI is measured by

then can Return on Attention be measured as

So what did you/ your product/service gain from the attention, here’s a take from Dell.

According to Dell’s Lionel Menchaca:

“Our @DellOutlet is now close to 1.5 million followers on Twitter, and back in June we indicated that @DellOutlet earned $3 million in revenue from Twitter. Today it’s not just Dell Outlet having success connecting with customers on Twitter. In total, Dell’s global reach on Twitter has resulted in more than $6.5 million in revenue. In fact our Brazilian and Canadian accounts are growing rapidly too –- and it was Canadian tweeters who asked to make sure Dell Canada came online to Twitter. Dell Canada responded because the team heard our customers. In less than a year, @DellnoBrasil has already generated nearly $800,000 in product revenues. Similarly, @DellHomeSalesCA has surpassed $150,000 and is increasing at notable pace.

Still wondering what to tell the boss, when you want to hire a social media strategist firm, or burn some marketing dollars on Facebook, or promoted tweets? Tell us what works for you by living a comment below.

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