Illustration: Sandra Kuan
Recently I had the opportunity to chat with a bright Marketing Director about his digital projects over the past year. He gave me a hard time about the Key Performance Indicators (the measure of marketing effectiveness) for every single campaign we worked on. We are not the type of agency that develops digital solutions without tracking the results, but even so, measuring the impact that digital has on a particular business, particularly for complex international companies, is often a challenge.
Part way through our meeting he asked me why his brand hadn’t developed a successful Facebook approach. I felt it was important to revisit the KPI discussion we had earlier. How do you want to measure the effectiveness of Facebook: by the number of Friends, Likes or Comments? There was a pause for a moment. In the end, the underlying problem was revealed: overhyped social media. The majority of brands feel they have to jump on the social-media train, without any clear understanding of where it will take them.
Recent research from Lewis PR, a Belgium PR company, revealed that 73% of Belgian companies don’t have a social media policy in place, let alone a social strategy. I would guess that the European average is not far from that.
Expert blogs, such as L2: A Think Tank for Digital Innovation, Altimeter Group and tweepi, are full of tips and tricks on how to successfully use social media. But despite the wealth of information available, too many brands are fixated on the tactics and channels. It’s not about Facebook, Twitter or the tricks-of-the-trade that experts commonly share. The key issue is to evaluate your business by carefully listening to your customers and determining how you can improve their business through social techniques. Otherwise, all your social-media efforts risk becoming a glorified form of public relations.