Social Media and Small Business Metrics?

At the meshwest conference last week in Calgary, there was a panel looking at how brands can successfully leverage Twitter. One of the panelists was Allyson Simpson, who handles social media for a bar in Calgary, the Melrose Cafe and Bar.

Simpson’s insight into how she does her job and the things the cafe wants to achieve with social media got me thinking about how her performance is measured.

At the end of the day, social media needs to accomplish something – be it higher sales, more leads, better customer service, etc. So one of the key questions is how a social media manager is assessed.

One of the challenges is social media is, ideally, part of the marketing and sales mix so it can be hard to isolate social media’s direct impact. For larger companies, the metrics may be more obvious using benchmarks such as followers, retweets, click-throughs (Twitter), “Likes” and comments (Facebook), and pageviews, subscribers and comments (blogs).

But what about smaller companies that don’t have large audiences? How can a social media manager’s performance be graded if quantity is not part of the equation? Simpson, for example, may be terrific at doing her job but it may not translate into a large following on Twitter or Facebook. So if it’s not about quantity, what is it?

When I asked Simpson about the tools used by her boss to see if she was doing a good job, she said there was a combination of standard metrics, particularly for Twitter, which has become Melrose’s go-to tool, and metrics that have been created internally.

While I didn’t get a chance to get more details, I would suspect some of these metrics have to do with engagement. Within a competitive marketplace with lots of options, reaching out to potential customers and driving loyalty with existing customers would be an important metric.

Another obvious metric is how much new business that Simpson could pull in, not only individuals but groups, by being an active member of the social media and technology community. A great example is while Simpson was at meshwest, an attendee reached out via Twitter to see they could talk about hosting a social media event at the bar.

For small businesses, social media is a different beast because many companies have limited resources to do it. And if they are going to have someone running social media, there is probably more justification needed to assess its performance compared with other sales and marketing initiatives.

The metrics used can be different but it is important to create a “dashboard” that lets someone’s performance be measured in some fashion.

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  1. Pingback: Social Media and Small Business Metrics? « Sysomos Blog | | The Money BooksThe Money Books

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