Knowing Your Numbers

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Last month, The Gap announced that they were launching an intense social media campaign entitled "Born to Fit" in lieu of running television ads. Whether or not The Gap made a wise decision in pulling their more traditional television advertising in full favor of social media is a discussion I'll leave for another time. What caught my eye in this article was this line:

Channing said The Gap had set no numerical benchmarks to determine success in the campaign, but rather would look at "how much consumers interact with the brand" to gauge ROI.

No numerical benchmarks? Really?

Building buzz is an important skill set in social media but the return on investment comes from leveraging that buzz to increase your company revenues not in simply being more popular. The Gap has no numerical benchmarks for this endeavor? How will they know whether or not the campaign worked or not? I highly doubt that executives at The Gap will be happy if the buzz and "consumer interaction" results in selling just five more pairs of jeans per store. 

In the wedding industry, the prevalent attitude toward social media still tends to be "well this Internet thing is a fad, but what the heck, let's try it out. We don't need to actually measure anything with numbers and math, because you know, it's social and just a fun thing."

Your company's social media strategy needs to be treated with the same due diligence and planning that you would treat any other aspect of your business. What do you want to get out being involved in social media? More business? How much more? It's no secret that social media requires quite a bit of time. If you spend four hours per week on your blog, Facebook or Twitter, what do you hope that will result in? What are your metrics? Do you want more Twitter followers? Why? What do those numbers represent in your plan?

When it comes to your online involvement, know what you want and set a plan with relevant metrics to help you get there. As Zig Ziglar famously says, "If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time."

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