From Social Engagement to Social Advocacy

likeSocial media impact can be hard to measure. What makes it worse is that almost everyone in the organisation has exposure to social media in their private lives and thus has an opinion.  Unfortunately, this can lead to a focus on the wrong metric – and it’s usually one of numeric engagement.

Don’t get me wrong, numeric engagement is a good place to start.  It stands to reason that the more followers you have on Twitter, the more people you can get your message to. The more Likes you have on Facebook, the bigger your reachable base.
However, the number of followers or the number of Likes doesn’t tell the whole story.  Indeed, the very term ‘Like’ is misleading.  I worked at one company where the Marketing Director was excited about the thousands of Likes the corporate page had achieved.  I had to point out that to comment on our page and thus to complain, customers first had to ‘Like’ us.  That must have hurt some of those customers…

What we need to do is move from measuring numerical engagement to promoting and measuring advocacy.

Create a social media measurement hierarchy

One way we can start to measure engagement and advocacy is by awarding points for different actions.
So for example, on Facebook we might rank a Like of our page above a Like for a status, a comment above a Like and a Share above all, so our hierarchy may be as follows:

  • Status Like – 1 point
  • Status Comment – 3 points
  • Page Like – 5 points
  • Status Share – 10 points

Twitter is slightly more problematic, but you could look at the following:

  • Follow – 1 point
  • Favourite – 2 points
  • Reply – 3 points
  • #FF or similar – 5 points
  • Retweet – 5 points
  • Using your created hashtag – 5 points

Note: You should not aggregate the Facebook and Twitter scores – they should always be treated separately.

The point of this hierarchy is that it enables us to track a score for every status update and tweet, and allows us to focus on the activity that drives advocacy.  And advocacy is where the real power of social sits.

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