Social media metrics can help you tell whether your engagement efforts are gaining any traction in your community. But how can you know what this data is really telling you, and how can social media metrics support sound strategic decisions?
A recent article by Nancy K. Baym in the peer-reviewed online journal First Monday, “Data not seen: The uses and shortcomings of social media metrics,” explores how to make sense of the numbers.
- Not all followers are equally valuable. A musician said in interview that he has had supporters with millions of followers recommend him on Twitter from their accounts, resulting in 70 clicks through to his website. Other advocates, with only 2,000 followers, prompted 300 click-throughs following their endorsement. This means that attention is the “currency,” not how many people you’re distributing information to. It is important to push content toward those who personally identify with your message or brand—this will drive more engagement in the long run.
- Audience size may be misleading. The prevalence of “dead followers” (i.e., inactive users attached to profile) and idle followers has been revealed in recent months, prompting a discussion about how effective quantifying the audience is in determining reach. Followers who actively share media are many times more valuable than those who are passive, content with the one-way street. Gauging the active:inactive followers ratio and manipulating it to score the most engaging users possible helps improve one’s outreach exponentially. One way of accomplishing this is to personally reach out to active users on the site, starting a dialogue that results in them lending support to your brand.
- Tailor messaging to attract influential users...