Why Businesses Suck at Social Media

Avinash Kaushic sugests new metrics to measure medical marketing successIt takes so little to make people happy, yet most businesses fail dismally at creating online experiences of value for their visitors.  In fact, according to Avinash Kaushik, digital evangelist for Google in his keynote address to the Search Engine Strategies Conference in London last week, we “suck “at it.

In his address, Kaushik claimed it is a “crime against humanity” that we have access to more information than God intended anyone to have, yet very little happens as a result of all this data. It’s because businesses focus on metrics that are irrelevant in the modern age of information consumption.

Clicks, visits, page views, emails sent, social media likes are all garbage metrics that have no fundamental meaning for measuring the economic success of an online strategy.  HITS, Kaushik says is an acronym for “How Idiots Track Success.”

Measuring Brand Destruction

The question that every business should be asking is how do we find people and influence them?  And once we find them, how do we create experiences of value for them?  Traditional marketing mediums like television use a strategy of shouting at potential customers in the hope that if they shout long enough and loud enough, eventually someone will listen.  But, in the new digital age this strategy does not work – it just pisses people off.  Businesses that use this strategy should consider measuring another metric – “brand destruction.”  How much damage do you do to your brand every day by shouting at anyone and everyone that comes within reach?

New Metrics to Monitor Value

Instead of making decisions using super-lame measurements such as clicks, visits and bounces, Kaushik suggests four new metrics that have true meaning in an age where social media is poised to dominate.

  1. Conversation rate: Not conversion rate, but conversation rate.  If you talk, does anyone talk back? If they don’t then you are probably talking about things that your audience doesn’t care about.
  2. Amplification rate: A unique feature of social networks is that your message does not just reach your first level network.  If the quality is good enough, people will spread or amplify it through the friends that follow them.  This second level network has the potential to reach an enormous scale and is measured by the number of forwards per social contribution.
  3. Applause rate:  Measure the number of people across different channels that agree with what you say as a measure of the quality of your contribution.
  4. Economic value: This shows that social media is not simply faith-based marketing.  There is economic value in social media that goes beyond simple measurement of macro conversions such as lead gen and ecommerce.  Instead there is a wide range of micro conversions that can occur at every point in the sales cycle that contribute value to a company.  These micro conversions need to be created or found and tracked.

The shift in the social web revolution is this:  in many ways, influencing people is happening in areas beyond where companies have influenced before– and the way we are influencing is by having conversations not, by shouting at people.

Companies that do not understand how they are now influencing are going to find it difficult to have long term success.

Why Businesses Suck at Social Media

Leave a Reply