Who Has Time for Social Media Measurement?
By Holly Zoba Senior VP of Sales - Hospitality, Signature Worldwide | January 29, 2012
Do you know your popularity index on TripAdvisor or what guests are saying about you on Twitter? With the plethora of social media sites that can positively – and negatively – affect your hotel, it's important to have a clearly defined, manageable plan for social media measurement.
I often wonder if Albert Einstein might have been referring to social media analytics when he said, "Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted."
The great debate continues on how to best measure the results of any social media effort. Just look at the volume of acronyms that have been added to the ROI family. What was historically return on investment is now return on intent, return on interest, return on engagement, return on effort, and on and on.
I have read dozens of articles about how social media shouldn't be measured by traditional methods because it isn't about any kind of return on investment. It is all about reputation management, customer engagement and my favorite tactic used by social media consultants – it doesn't matter what the ROI is, if you don't get involved, you will be left behind – I refer to that as ROFGO – return on fear of getting old! There are many senior managers who don't get social media, but they know they should, so they hire kids who do get it to manage their company's social media efforts because they don't want to appear obsolete.
The quantitative results seems tricky to measure but everyone seems to agree on the value of qualitative returns on social media. Good buzz about your hotel, lots of positive tweets or posts, thousands of likes on your Facebook page, surely that cannot be a bad thing. Increased customer loyalty is another term I see linked with customer interaction on social media channels. So should that be enough? When you search for what people are saying about you, and the majority of the posts are positive, doesn't that enhance your brand and make it more valuable? But what about negative or neutral posts – isn't the old adage any press is good press still true, so even though the posts may not all be in your favor, at least your name is getting out there – PR impressions – doesn't that count?
While there is some truth (and measurement potential) in the qualitative value of social media, ignoring the quantitative component to your social media efforts, because either you can't figure out how to measure, or you just don't have the time, will eventually lead to the demise of your owner's interest in the investment of your social media efforts. Brian Solis recently did a brilliant job of consolidating the thoughts of hundreds of CEOs he has interviewed on the topic of investing in social media:
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