I am still mystified by the comments or the debate that Social Media is in someway unmeasurable. I believe very strongly that Social Media makes us more not less informed.
According to the Socialnomics Website, 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations whilst only 14% trust advertising. This sits well in my mind as I use social media sites like TripAdvisor and Booking.com or ask friends when evaluating a potential purchase or hotel stay. Social Media is definitely having an effect on the bottom line.
Consider also that we have lived for a long time in a relatively “unmeasurable” world of newspaper, radio, TV ads, not to mention the unseen influence of our “offline” social networks. We have been largely unable to measure these interactions so we have ignored them.
In fact, we have viewed marketing as beautifully simple i.e. spend on this ad equates to increased sales of x%; only surveys could hint at what was really going on. Online, we have attributed almost all visits and subsequent conversions to our website as “great” web marketing – good news for the web marketers but I suspect inaccurate! How many of our visits are already brand aware for example.
Now, with the advent of Social Media we can begin to quantify and qualify these (previously) intangible interactions. We can begin to look at our success in terms of “engaging” our customers and potential customers across the net – and get involved there and then. We can look at the wider impact across the net – Our Buzz – and across all of our activities on Social Media (as a neat trend graph if we like). We can make links to our business activity: events, phone enquiries, web enquiries. Finally, we can look at underlying business performance, sales, occupancy rates and to some extent attribute benefit to individual interactions but also see performance in terms of the “health” of our customer and influencer base.
The reality is, Social Media makes us more not less informed. It also signals a reality check, the world is bigger, more complex and requires a better response than at any time in the past. Ignore Social Media at your peril.