I’m following the developments at Klout. They have created the “Klout Score” which they say is “the measurement of your overall online influence.” What I like about them is that they seem to understand that activity by influential community members is the key to achieving social media ROI.
Unfortunately, too many companies are getting caught up in the basic metrics, not the ones that matter most. Some of the blame goes to the onslaught of new players in social media analytics. In fact, it seems that every week at least one new company comes out with a some kind of reporting – I’m finding it quite hard to keep up! It’s understandable that many companies are new to social media and they are looking for some way, any way, to measure “what’s working and what’s not.” But against what benchmark? What does the number really mean? Can you actually do anything about improving the situation? Is there ROI implied in the numbers, or are they just getting pretty graphs?
I have the opportunity to talk to many companies about their social media strategy. And when it comes to analytics, many tell me that more often than not the data is only marginally useful for a few reasons:
- The data is often very basic and not actionable. They find themselves saying, “So now what?”
- Those trends that everyone talks about don’t seem to show up. Instead, they tend to see a steady state with little changing week over week.
- The reports end up being useful only for a short time. Once they have the initial data their thinking quickly evolves and the canned reports become too basic.
I was talking to Lithium the other day (a recognized leader in measuring community engagement). We agreed that too many companies are getting caught up in measuring the most basic things, instead of measuring business outcomes that equate to bottom line results. The basic metrics only matter if the company has taken the time to clearly connect them to a traditional ROI metric.
Back to Klout… It’s good that they are helping companies identify and rank their community influencers. So today Klout tells us who to pay attention to, maybe next they can tell us what makes these people tick? If you know what drives their behavior, you can then focus on 1-1 engagement with these people, and then steer the community towards your objectives (ROI measures). Hey Klout, is that what you’re planning? I hope so, because we don’t need another analytics company hyping up metrics that really don’t tell us much.