Sunday, April 11, 2010

Measuring Success in the Social Web

In Deltina Hay’s “A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization”, Chapter 14 looks at measuring one’s success in the Social Web. It is necessary to measure your success in the Social Web to better understand the effect of your efforts and to discover room for improvement. First, Hay recommends narrowing your goal. What is your goal for using the Social Web for your business practices? What is the reason for your investment in utilizing social media? Below is a list of possible goals provided by Hay:

- Increasing Website traffic
- Driving sales or new business
- Monitoring brand awareness
- Improving customer relations
- Managing reputation
- Establishing credibility
- Creating buzz
- Improving public relations

Once you have defined your goal, the next step is to try to determine the success of your efforts. Hay describes two different ways to look at measurement: qualitative and quantitative. Below is an excerpt from chapter 14 of Hay’s social media guide describing qualitative framework for measuring social media engagement:

1. Attention. The amount of traffic to your content for a given period of time. Similar to the standard Web metrics of site visits and page/video views.
2. Participation. The extent to which users engage with your content in a channel. Think blog comments, Facebook wall posts, YouTube ratings, or widget interactions.
3. Authority. Ala Tecnhnorati, the inbound links to your content – like trackbacks and inbound links to a blog post or sites linking to a YouTube video.
4. Influence. The size of the user base subscribed to your content. For blogs, [it is] followers on Twitter or Friendfeed; or [it is] fans of your Facebook page.

Another way to measure success is through quantitative measuring. In order to use quantitative measuring, you must have a goal with specific numbers. Below is an excerpt from Hay’s chapter 14, outlining a quantitative framework:

- Placement in Website search engines
- Placement in blog search engines
- Placement of social networking pages in searches
- Ranking in social bookmarking sites
- Popularity in crowd-sourcing sites
- Popularity of shared multimedia within media communities

So if you decide to measure your Social Web success using either a qualitative or quantitative framework, it is necessary to first establish a goal. Which method do you feel is the most effective way to measure Social Web success?

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