As social and digital media continue to become a bigger focus for teams at Cisco, having a way to measure the impact and success of these initiatives is more important than ever.
- What resonates with our customers?
- Are we meeting our goals for specific audiences?
- How can we better refine our strategy and tactics?
Having this information is crucial to making decisions about how our social media investment fits in to the overall marketing mix.
The good news is that we’re not alone—this is a common, top-of-mind challenge for many other companies and organizations too.
According to an article by MediaPost News that references a recent Forbes Insights study, one-third of U.S. companies plan to maintain or increase marketing budgets in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, and a higher percentage will set up guidelines and metrics to prove accountability. Having a solid measurement framework in place is certainly a primary focus for Cisco marketing as well.
As a first step to addressing this challenge we turned to measurement guru Katie Delahaye Paine. Katie helped us survey and solicit feedback from many of our most active social media practitioners at Cisco to learn about their primary measurement goals and priorities. The purpose of this process was to identify a limited number of key performance indicators that we can use to track and improve performance going forward.
As a result of this work, we have developed a social media measurement framework as a guide and resource for our internal teams at Cisco to help determine what and how to measure for their social media programs and initiatives. The measurement “streams” group the most common goals and ties them back to potential key performance indicators and metrics to track them.
This framework is meant to be flexible and allows people to pick and choose the measurement goals that are most relevant to their objectives and helps initiate ideas for any additional metrics as teams develop their plans. The intention is not to try and measure everything but to instead focus on what really matters. This is our first iteration of the framework and we welcome your feedback.
Here are a few other key takeaways that we’ve learned from this process:
- Don’t try to measure everything! You will be overwhelmed by meaningless data and will give up before you have a chance to analyze the information and gain insights.
- Be aware that readily available data can influence what you measure. Just because it’s easy to track the number of followers you have on Twitter doesn’t mean you should. If it’s not tied to your goals and objectives there’s no point in tracking it. Measure the things that are important to your team and matter most to your business.
- Share your measurement data and results. The more people you share results with, the more good questions they ask. Also, sharing what’s working and what isn’t helps everyone across the organization.
- You can’t measure change over time if you’re just looking at one data point. It’s important to put your data into a long-term context so that you can measure your overall efforts over time.
- Look at both quantitative and qualitative data. The numbers alone won’t always tell you a full story—qualitative data will help provide insights that you might otherwise miss and provide a holistic perspective.
Feel free to share your stories about how you’re measuring your social media efforts or whether or not this framework or any others have helped you. We intend to refine and develop this framework as we use it, and will continue to share what we learn with you.