Whether you have a small or large business, creating a sound social media strategy to meet business objectives is important. In a recent post, Shel Holtz points out that Chaos is Not a Strategy. He outlines three types of social media: organic, programmatic, and campaign-based.
I’d like to expand on these three categories and offer possible success metrics for each.
Organic social media — This type of social media originates from dedicated fans or employees and is focused on building relationships. Success metrics should be based on level of engagement and participation.
I think organic social media can also cross over into programmatic or campaign-based when you ask employees to share particular offers or information to their fans or followers at particular times.
Programmatic social media — it’s a specified activity to meet business results. It’s not just creating a Twitter account to build fans, but creating an account like @DellOutlet to increase sales. Or, it’s using Twitter as part of your overall customer service response strategy because your goal is to serve customers where they are. Success metrics should be aligned with the business objective. For example, if the goal of your strategy is to increase brand visibility, then one metric I would include is organic branded-term search results.
RSS Feeds or content that is syndicated can be considered a type of programmatic social media. Often, the success metric associated with this type of social media is number of subscribers or reach. However, if you have the type of company that offers location-based deals, then part of your social media strategy to increase sales could be to provide geo-targeted content that includes location-specific offerings via RSS feeds. It’s not necessarily sexy, but you could be providing information to your customers the way they want to receive it because they are opt-ing in to receive it.
Campaign-based social media — For example, back in 2008 we created a series of 8 educational and entertaining podcasts that were syndicated on various media channels for a set period of time. Success metrics for this type of social media should have some aspect of participation or engagement measurement (after all, anything else would more closely resemble a banner campaign), but when working with traditional media companies, impressions and click-throughs will still be some part of the success metrics and likely determine the cost of the campaign.
I’d argue that any best-in-class social media program needs all three types of social media, but as Shel states, any social media strategy needs to have people who are coordinating efforts. A few dedicated employees can bring more visibility and necessary protocols to a program, and a paid-campaign can help launch a program with well-defined success criteria. However, that’s not to say that programmatic social media will automatically be successful if you bring enough organic attention or paid campaign-based activity to it.
Yet, all of the different types of social media can, and should, have specific success metrics associated with it. Otherwise, you’ve just a bunch of keys without knowing which devices they go with.