By Tom Collins
After noting that measuring short-term sales attributed to social media activities "is the wrong end of the telescope to be looking at measurement from," he explains:
"Social media is about relationships. And anyone who has ever had one can tell you that you cannot judge a relationship from a snapshot; you need to observe a relationship over months or even years to get any sense of the quality and value of that relationship. Sadly, most of the social media analysis tools in the marketplace don’t provide this viewpoint."
He might also have said it's sad, too, that most social media analysts fail to provide any long-term viewpoint — although in their defense, many of their clients are probably too locked into the "quarterly results" mindset to listen.
Bryan does get at one of the fundamental problems with social media "measurement" by asking how long a period you should measure the impact and how that relates to the lifetime value of a customer concept. And Gail Gardner comments that "obsessing over what you can measure will lead to focusing on all the wrong activities and metrics" (emphasis mine).
Those two observations led me back to another post where I listed both as fundamental errors and added the delusional thinking that the things we're measuring all count the same: each view, each reTweet, each Like. To me, the measurement-obsessed crowd might as well report that they collected 283 coins.
So what? Were they all pennies? Quarters? Any of them double-struck? Was there a gold dubloon among them?
I'll leave you with one more quote from Bryan's post and urge you to go read the rest:
“'If you torture the data long enough it will confess,' is what we learn from British economist Ronald Coase. The question to ask is what are the 'social media pundits' trying to get it to confess to?”
Of course, tortured long enough, it'll confess to anything it thinks you (or your client) want to hear, right?
Oh, and here's an updated version of the Social Media Revolution video that Bryan shared: