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How To Measure Your Community Manager’s Success
Unlike the more established marketing channels, social media is still in its relative infancy. For this reason, the life of a social media marketer is spent both learning and keeping his or her clients up to speed with the ever-changing social landscape. I believe one of the things that makes a successful as a social media agency is when clients are always asking questions and pushing us to define success for social media marketing, even though our world is still changing almost daily. And good for them! Any smart business person should be asking how she’ll know if she’s successful.
Recently, clients have been asking me how they’ll know if our community managers are succeeding in their craft. To me, that answer was simple: a healthy community.
That means the community manager is doing well, right? Well sort of.
Thanks to some smart thinking and advice from a few industry friends, and great partnership with a few clients who shared input on what they expected from their community managers, I’ve boiled down what it means to succeed as a community manager, taking that analysis beyond the traditional marketing KPIs and incorporating a more traditional performance review method.
Metric #1: Measuring Community Health
The community manager’s role is to get people to talk, share, and react to the brand in the communities he or she manages. Key performance indicators (KPIs) should be set for each community based on the client’s objectives for that community and the community manager’s scope of work. Example metrics of community health (and therefore, the quality of the community manager’s output) are:
- Community Growth Metrics: Net new Likes, new followers, etc.
- Community Attrition Metrics: Unlikes, unfollows
- Brand Mentions on Active Social Channels:Facebook page tags, blog backlinks, blog comments, @replies and @mentions, etc.
- Engagement Metrics: Attrition rate, people talking about this, bounce rate, return visitors, etc.
- Content Analysis: Interaction rates ( [Likes + Comments + Shares] / Total Fans or [@replies + @mentions + RTs] / Followers), click-through rates, blog posts shares, blog backlinks, etc.
Metric #2: Tracking the Community Manager’s Deliverables
Additionally, there are certian skills and tasks required of a community manager that I can track to ensure that he or she is fulfilling the cope and meeting the client needs.
I’d recommend tracking all of these over time, rather than holding community managers to a specific goal, because there are many factors outside of their control that could affect results. Examples of scope fulfillment metrics include:
- Volume of content output: Number of posts, number of @replies sent, % of fan comments responded to, etc.
- Speed of replies
- Spam removed
- Escalation paths followed properly
Examples of content fulfillment metrics include:
- Clear CTA
- Matches brand voice
- Relevant to the community
- Includes appropriate tags, mentions, or backlinks
- Proper spelling and grammar (just because you’re posting on Facebook doesn’t mean you can ignore the fact that you are a professional company with some expectation by your customers of professionalism)
- Links are properly tracked and work
- We have permission to use all media (licenses and rights confirmed, waivers collected, etc.)
- Facebook-specific: Title and meta data for links are edited appropriately
- YouTube-specific: Tags, title and descriptions optimized to match keyword strategy
- Blog-specific: All content and images are sourced properly; post is tagged and categorized; post slug is correct; post-previewed and formatted correctly
Metric #3: Alignment with Client Needs
There are also subjective measures that any agency with a focus on client success should care about. I recommend discussing these needs with our clients on at least a quarterly basis and ask our client partners to engage in an open dialogue with us, providing feedback on the community manager’s ability to do the following:
- Provide strategic guidance as it relates to the brand’s online communities
- Grasp and adapt the brand voice
- Represent the community’s point of view
- Provide actionable insights
The Difference Between Strategy, Goals, & Tactics
Social media is not a strategy. It is not a goal. It is a series of tactics.
I’m not one for semantics, when it comes to your social media the difference between these three terms are important.
If you are a small business or a startup trying to venture out into the social media world, you can easily be led to think that you should neglect traditional marketing, customer support, PR, and just replace them with social media.
“We need to put everything on Facebook and Tweeter, that way we won’t need to send out newsletters!”
If that statement makes sense to you, or is even remotely attractive, HALT. Don’t even think about taking that direction. Go get your marketing plan, and consider where social media tools will support or extend your existing marketing strategy. (Social media can enhance more than just marketing, but that’s a good place to start)
These are the actual Merriam-Webster definitions:
Strategy : the science and art of employing the political, economic, psychological, and military forces of a nation or group of nations to afford the maximum support to adopted policies in peace or war
Goal : the end toward which effort is directed
Tactic : a device for accomplishing an end
Don’t get so hung up on these terms that you become paralyzed. All you need to do is have a clear, written plan to help you accomplish your corporate goals. You’ll use a variety of marketing strategies, one of which is social media.
Does Social Media Marketing Success Demand Talent Over Technology?
Guys, I’m tired. I’ve been writing social media news releases day and night, and getting social media channels ready for ‘official releases,’ and it’s just been really tiring. The worst part is, people keep asking “Can’t you just let some new website or application do this for you?”
No. No I can’t. Nor can any [good] social media marketer.
Although these websites and applications may make my job much simpler, they simply don’t take away the work: writing/collecting compelling content and personalized channels. The SM marketer does that work. A blog, for example, is just a platform and structure. 90% of a social marketer’s time should be spent writing amazing content. Content is king.
So that brings me back to the original question: does social media marketing success demand talent, or does it demand technology?
I’m pretty sure humanity trumps technology.
Too many people in this space get stuck behind the technology barrier (been there. HTML for Dummies would have kept me stuck there, too, if I had bothered to open that book).
They spend all their budgets on building the perfect web application, the best Facebook App, and on graphic design and architecture, leaving very little if anything on the best writers and the best marketers. Don’t get stuck in that trap.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to downplay the importance of technology, but companies are neglecting to hire and train people based on their ability to write and their ability to connect and engage people; focusing on if they can create a twitter tab for the Facebook page is not that important. Hiring people who care more about personal and human relationships, rather than the technical coding and ‘whatchymacallits’ won’t guarantee a successful campaign. And on that note, having a twitter channel doesn’t make you an influencer, nor does being able to set up a blog put you in Technorati’s Top 100. I have 200 followers on twitter, but at least I know they are listening, and if just one person reads this blog post and learns from it, I’m happy.
At the end of the day, all these web applications are top-notch, but they just make it easier — almost effortless — to do your job as a social marketer, to be honest I wouldn’t mind marrying a programmer right now. But they do not do your job for you and they often make many people in the industry lazier, more careless, and less concise. They tend to be enablers, enabling bad grammar, poor spelling, and just good enough editing. People should always write as though going to press and being printed on paper instead of just assuming you can always edit it later. Yes, I Mean U GuYs who tYpe LyK Dis in a stealth-marketing attempt to sway the young into buying something they absolutely do not need (it’s ok to show a little sassiness in my own blog, isn’t it?)
Your social media presence, digital PR strategy, and social media marketing campaigns are only as good as your writers, marketers, PR professionals, community managers, designers, and creatives (the artisans) and not on the technologies (which are the tools). When I was being taught Mass Media and Communication atAUB, I was reminded every day that all the things I was learning in class, even though it would possibly become out-dated and old school the next day in this technologically fast-paced world, are still relevant because human nature is human nature and people are people (I majored in Sociology, by the way) and technological platforms are ephemeral and fleeting.
Learn the tools, try to figure out how to work through them, or marry an expert in that field if you want to constantly be obsessed (hint, hint), but it’s definitely more efficient to leave the obsession behind and leave the spotlight on what matters the most - people.
The picture, by the way, was an infographic that the Ideaz Factory designer and I made, but I had to hide a lot of the text. It’s still relevant though,so I hope it helps you understand what I’m trying to say (you can see a higher-resolution version here)