This Sunday I’ll be down at SXSW in Austin, Texas, where our CEO Adam Schoenfeld (the Patrick Dempsey-esque fella pictured to the right) is giving a talk called “Social Media Was Fun: Did Measurement Kill It?”
Now, his talk is about how social measurement can make your personal life better (i.e. getting the girl, making friends, improving health, etc.), but to be honest, I also hear social marketers, who work with data every day, talk about how boring metrics are.
My background is as a sports writer, so digging into stats to make a story richer, find predictive trends, or support an idea is something I did long before I started working in social media.
But regardless of your background; if you think about your metrics, data, and measurement as boring? It might be time to look at what you’re doing wrong. We have an awesome ability in this space to learn from our mistakes in real time, quantify the impact of our actions, and adjust. This is the first time marketers can really say they’ve been able to do that…ever.
To put it in as many sports clichés as I can fit in this paragraph: it’s the game film you watch at Monday’s practice. It helps you draw up plays specifically for your crosstown rivalry. It helps you find the weaknesses in your game, as well as the strengths.
With that, here are a few things to keep in mind to avoid letting your metrics get boring.
5 Reasons Your Social Measurement Shouldn’t Be Boring
1. Remember that you’re a storyteller: This means both internally and externally. As a storyteller, your job is to use your data to tell a better story, whether that means identifying key performance indicators that you can use to tweak your brand’s messaging, or identifying the heart of a success or failure. I’ve spent over a decade making a paycheck by telling stories, and the data to do so confidently is something I’m constantly grateful for, and something I miss like crazy when it’s gone.
2. Don’t be afraid of your failures: Every story needs a good setback. If you’re glossing over your failures, you’re missing a bigger point. Learn from them, and more importantly; use what you learned to improve your game. Not to harp on the sports theme, but longtime North Carolina Basketball coach Dean Smith used to say, “What do we do with a mistake: Recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it.”
3. They’re just numbers: There’s no need to be scared of your data. If it’s packaged in a way that’s overwhelming, you might want to try a different analytics tool (I hear Simply Measured has some gorgeous, easy-to-understand reports). Your job isn’t to analyze the reason behind every single tweet. It’s to focus on the trends, strengths and areas for improvement. Shape your data in a way that makes this easier on you. It’s a tool that’s meant to help you, not add a cumbersome component to your job.
4. You get to play on the internet…all day: You have one of the coolest jobs that exist! And it wouldn’t actually exist if we couldn’t track it. Your data supports your internet habit. It justifies why you get to play on Facebook while your Twitter stream cascades down your other screen.
5. Winning is better when you know it happened: Can you imagine playing a game of basketball without keeping score? Awful right? We’re not playing for a participation trophy; we’re playing to win. Why wouldn’t the same be true at work? If you planned an awesome, beautiful campaign that you worked on for countless hours, wouldn’t you want to know how it did? Without your data, how are you supposed to do that? Data is what makes social media the marketing playground that it is.
If you’ll be at SXSW this weekend, make sure you come check out Adam, along with Matt Thomson, the VP of Platform and Business Development at Klout, giving their talk “Social Media Was Fun: Did Measurement Kill It?” at 5PM Sunday night at the Austin, Sheraton. It should be a lot of fun.
If you’re looking for a way to integrate metrics into your social game plan, check out Simply Measured’s full suite of free reports.