Vicky's blog

Measuring social media success

November 21st, 2011 · No Comments

My thoughts on Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik

You’ve implemented all the social media tools and gadgets that you think will serve your chosen purpose (see Building Online Communities is about Purpose, Purpose, Purpose), and people are starting to respond. Great! Or is it? What is great anyways?

How can you measure if your strategies have been successful?

According to Avinash Kaushik in his blog Occam’s Razor, there are 4 measurements to determine online marketing success:

1. Conversation Rate = # of Audience Comments (or Replies) Per Post

This gives you insights into who your listeners and participants are, what your brand attributes are, and what value you can offer your customers.

2. Amplification Rate = how many times your message is passed on

e.g. # retweets / tweet, # facebook shares / post, # share clicks / blog post

This will help you determine what’s most important to your customers, what gets their attention and what they value most.

3. Applause Rate = # favorite clicks on twitter, # likes on facebook or blogs

Knowing what your audience likes helps you strategize what to give them more of, how to connect with them in a more meaningful and valuable way.

4. Economic Value = sum of short and long term revenue and cost savings; in other words, the bottom-line

The reason for using social media is to drive economic value, so measuring it is key.

Taking it a step further…

One thing that Kaushik doesn’t discuss is that all of these measures are relative to the size of your target market. If your target market is a small, specific group of people, then a lower conversation rate may actually be relatively high! Know the size of your target market and take this into account when measuring success.

Also, trending over time is key and comparing with your competition is key. If you have the resources (time, people, money) to compare your stats to those of your competitors, you will gain an ever deeper insight into what consumers value and how you can better serve them. Trending your own stats, as well as those of your competitor, over time will allow you to see what works and what doesn’t, how consumers respond (or don’t!). All of this is valuable in connecting with and responding to what your customers need.

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Building Online Communities is about Purpose, Purpose, Purpose

November 21st, 2011 · No Comments

My thoughts on Social Media Success is about Purpose (not Technology) by Anthony Bradley and Mark McDonald

We’ve all stumbled across a blog or facebook page and have wondered, “Why would that company have a facebook page? I don’t want to be their friend!”

Looking at it from the Manager’s perspective, if it’s the hottest trend (remember when Twitter first arrived on the scene?), then we have to have it. And in the craze of figuring out how a new platform will work and if it’s going to adopted by the general public, managers often forget to ask themselves “What PURPOSE will this new platform serve for my company?”

Without asking what the purpose of adopting some social media vehicle is, then it is highly unlikely that any business value will be derived from it. The lack of purpose leads to “provide and pray”, where managers provide a social media tool and pray the community will form around it and begin to use it, as Bradley and McDonald explain in their Harvard Business Review article “Social Media Success is about Purpose (not Technology)“.

So how can managers find a purpose for the available technology? Bradley and McDonald recommend “purpose roadmapping — planning how to use purpose to engage and sustain productive communities.”

In other words, start by understanding your customers’ needs. Then map out how community collaboration and your business can grow together over time. Lastly, choose the appropriate technology to make this happen. This high-level road-mapping will inform all lower-level business decisions as well, such as what to post and why- Will it serve our purpose?

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November 7th, 2011 · No Comments

“The social web will be the most critical marketing environment around.”

Larry Weber, p.14

That much Larry Weber had right in his 2007 bestseller Marketing to the Social Web: How digital customer communities build your business. But how have his insights kept up to through the past 4 years of social media shifts?


The evolution of marketing and social media

As Weber points out, companies still need a good product and good content if they are to be successful online marketers. This much will always hold true.

However, as the chart below shows,  social media and the ability to share information instantly has changed: Keep reading →

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Why people use the internet & why marketers should know

November 7th, 2011 · No Comments

The web and social media have become everyone’s answer to how to market their product, event, next idea that’s going to go viral. But how many of us actually consider why people use the internet before starting a Facebook page aimed at spreading our company’s message? If we knew, we could decide how to best fit the online world into our marketing strategy.

It turns out an “Intent Index” was created to give you all the information you need about why people on online. And it’s a fun and interactive tool to use too! (100% of internet users surveyed reported they use the internet to “Have Fun- Passtime”)

It’s probably not news to you that 96% of users go to the internet to educate themselves- to learn about the world or a new subject.

But how about this: 19% of people use the internet to sell, while 33% of users are there to buy. How many vendors are missing out on the opportunity to sell online? If they knew this, how might vendors adapt their website functions to facilitate online sales?

Here’s another example: only 10% of users donate money to a cause using the internet, and only 9% use it to raise money for a cause. Why are both of these numbers so low? Is it because people don’t care and don’t have access to it, or is it because the opportunities that exist are few, hard to find, difficult to use? Knowing that people donate infrequently online, what can marketers of, say the Canadian Cancer Foundation, do to raise more money online? Or should they even spend their efforts pursuing this channel?

If knowledge is power, then strategic decisions can certainly be informed with this little bit of gold.


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Eating with our eyes

November 4th, 2011 · No Comments

I was searching for a great Italian restaurant in Vancouver, so I did a google search and clicked on a restaurant whose name looked appealing. My instant reaction to their website “get me out of here!”

After talking with a friend, she informed me this place had some of Van’s best Italian grub and recommended I make a reservation. With a website like that I found that advice difficult to stomach, but decided to give it a taste nonetheless. The food turned out to be fabulous, though I was still bothered by my initial reaction to their website.

I went back to their website, and after forcing myself to look at it for a while, I realized what I had had such a gut wrenching reaction to: the colors scheme and use of color. The colors were overpowering, and they didn’t seem to match at all. The font was difficult to read because it blended into the background color, making the entire thing unappealing. My eyes and brain were overwhelmed by a clear lack of planning by whoever designed the page.

With a little more googling, I found an interesting explanation on how the color wheel can help this restaurant make their website as appetizing as their lasagna.

If you’re building a website, this is a must read! (And yes, the colors on the page are appealing, the font is easy to read…)

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Tweet and be heard

October 30th, 2011 · No Comments

Ever wondered when people are most likely to pay attention to your tweets? According to one study, tweet between 1-4 times/hour on Wednesdays and weekends at around noon or in the early evening.

But is it really that straight forward? No.

Number of tweets:

They recommend tweeting between 1-4 times per hour. Here’s the breakdown:


# tweets / hour

Average CTR (click through rate)

per link per hour











Interesting that they recommend a range of tweets/hour when 4 tweets/hour get almost no attention.

And did they measure tweets sent once every hour for 24 hours, or once per day? I image that if I received a tweet every hour from the same company (or friend), I’d ignore them after very few tweets. If I got one tweet per day, though, I might pay a little more attention. So should companies really tweet 1-4 times/hour, once/hour, or once/day?

Day of week

According to their study, there is a ~100% CTR on Wednesdays and weekends. Wow! Everyone clicks on Twitter links on Wednesdays and weekends? How did they measure this?

Time of day

They also recommend tweeting at 5pm to maximize retweets. The maximum retweet rate was a whopping 6%. You better have a lot of followers if you want those retweets to add up and be effective.

They also say the best time of day to tweet is either at noon or 6pm as these are the times when CTR spikes at 60%. What they don’t address is if better content might result in a higher CTR or in more retweets.

Key Takeaway

Without knowing how they conducted their study, this information is at best interesting, at worst a case of how to manipulate statistics to tell a great story.

Want to read it yourself?

The Science of Social Timing Part 1: Social Networks

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