Recently, I attended a conference and heard a speaker say that you should only have two metrics on a dashboard; the rest is just white noise distracting you from the true story of your program. In theory, this is an interesting concept and I agree that a top-level dashboard should be very high level and clearly communicate the status of a marketing initiative. The speaker continued on making bold statements like “Facebook likes are meaningless” and “Twitter followers won’t prove any business goals.”
I will be the first person to tell you that just getting a bunch of fans and/or followers is essentially meaningless unless you find the right ones and engage them properly. However, if you have no one to engage with, how can you convert them into new customers or repeat customers? For example, let’s stay on the current scenario in which I am attending a conference and my goals are to network and reconnect with friends and clients. In the speakers mind, the only metric that should be included on my dashboard is how many follow up meetings I set based on my networking activities; the rest is just white noise. I contend, however, that the number of new follow up meetings I set is directly related to the number of new followers, Facebook friends and LinkedIn connections that I have gained while at the conference. Therefore, there must be a two-level dashboard in which the top level is supported by granular data.
At the end of the day, social media marketing is all about making a human connection with someone—like giving them a hug. When a person likes or follows your brand, they have decided to enter your personal space and embrace you. It’s absurd to imply that the only thing that matters is how much money a customer is spending. Yes, the C-suite is probably only going to want to see the aggregate metrics and how they are effecting the companies P&L, but to assume that social connections are meaningless is akin to ignoring the countless number of studies that show that when you connect with a customer on a deeper level they spend more money and feel an affinity towards your products.
When you are designing your social marketing dashboards, take a two level approach. Keep it simple for the teams that only care about high level info but provide analytical and management teams the ability to dive in a digest the data that’s driving the big picture. This should be a best practice for social measurement. Simply put, I highly doubt you want to walk into a CMO’s office and tell them … “it doesn’t matter how we get visitors to our websites, just that they are there.”
How are you developing a top-down approach to your social dashboards?