How well do you know your Twitter followers and Facebook fans?
At yesterday's Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) event, Katie Paine gave her latest presentation on social media measurement. I've seen her talk many times, but she does a nice job keeping her pitch very current, so I always walk away with something new. Yesterday, it was the inclusion of number of Twitter followers/Facebook fans on her list of "Old School Metrics." It was great to see this.
The basis of this is the fact that what matters the most is the action taken around social media, with key metrics being influence, engagement, advocacy, sentiment and ROI. Katie just updated her social media measurement checklist, which is worth downloading.
It's About Quality, Not Quantity
I fundamentally agree with the assertion that number of followers is not an important metric. That is not to say that you don't want to grow your following, but focusing on building a qualified following is what is important. I wrote about this recently, making the argument that a company's following should be as 100% qualified as possible. The definition of qualified will vary depending on the objective(s) that a Twitter channel and/or Facebook fan page supports. For example, if it is a storage technology company's Twitter channel and it supports an objective of generating leads, the focus should be on getting prospects as followers and putting out information that leads them to an offer.
In many cases, a Twitter channel or Facebook fan page will support more than one objective, so the qualified following may consist of a combination of customers, prospects, media/influencers, partners and employees. If action taken around information put out through these channels is important, companies need to have a good understanding of the segmentation of its following/fans. In other words, what is the percentage of followers/fans that are prospects, customer, partners, etc?
Better Insight Leads to More Impact
I believe this is an important metric to track when planning how to use these channels to support the overall measurable objectives to make sure there is proper alignment and impact. Going back to the example above, if that storage company wants to use Twitter to support lead generation, but only 10-15% of followers are customers or prospects, the impact of that channel will be minimal.
My sense is that not a lot of companies really know this segmentation, as there are no tools (that I'm aware of) that automate this analysis. In addition, the prevailing mentality with Twitter has been to get as many followers as possible as quickly as possible. Reaching qualified audiences always has been important to marketers and they have more control over the audiences they can build through social media. The easy part is growing the following. The hard part is growing the RIGHT audience and knowing who they are.
How well do you know yours?