Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Social Media Measurement: This time for realz

We have crossed the just noticeable difference (JNdiff) in the threshold of signal: noise when serendipity has been compromised.

The noise out there can be infuriating. Too much clutter; no sense of what goes with what; what's a "need to know" vs. a "nice to know" vs. a "never wanted to know."

I often find myself talking clients off the ledge as they attempt to prioritize social media efforts, given inexplicable differences in results across listening platforms, varying calculations of influence, and the age-old question of "what's good" when it comes to buzz and sentiment. Further, knowing 'how well' you're doing in social media has only become more problematic with the increasing shift in interest from amassing eyeballs to mobilizing and rewarding them.

As an industry, we're plagued by inefficient categorizations, unstable rankings of authority, and unpredictable, black box algorithms guessing what matters most.

Perhaps as a result, we see more organizations shifting in the same way that we, as people, do as we go through adolescence-- from giving disproportionate weight to what others say about us, to being more concerned with our own actions. That which we can control.

Being in control of our actions requires a different type of measurement and management. To help organizations in said efforts, we're announcing today our public launch of the Social Business Index (SBI), the first application on our Social Business Intelligence as a Service (SBIaaS) data services platform.

Having worked in social media analysis for seven years, it's become clear to me, the trick to finding meaning in social media is to be intimate with your dataset (for context), and to monitor relative comparisons to yield meaning. We've thoroughly taken this to heart with the SBI.

Our dataset includes the social accounts of thousands of companies, their subsidiaries, and brands, in addition to the social accounts of their engaged market (e.g. anyone who interacts with a given account). Using natural language processing and machine learning algorithms, powered by our own strategists, we identify specific activities that are being executed by a given brand -- emanating from their social accounts. This is a critical distinction from the way things are being measured today. We're not exclusively monitoring reactions, or buzz in response to a real or perceived tactic. Instead, we're starting with the action per se. We're measuring what you, as marketers, are doing-- in addition to the way your market responds.

We've captured specific behaviors correlated with outcomes such as Brand Awareness, Brand Love, Brand Mindshare, and Advocacy. In aggregate, this gives us a company's Social Business Index Score-- a ranking, analysis, and benchmarking of Social Business adoption and performance.

Go to socialbusinessindex.com, learn more, and sign up.

We're excited about our progress in digging out of the black hole of social media measurement. We acknowledge our approach will evolve over time and we look forward to your collaboration to do so. If you work at a company covered by the index, register for private access to deeper analytics. If your company is not currently covered, request coverage.

If you're just curious, take a look at our ranking and best in class analysis by browsing at www.socialbusinessindex.com.

This post also appears on the Dachis Group Collaboratory, where you can find my colleagues' related posts as well.