by Katie Paine — SocialChorus and similar companies invent dollar value indexes that sound sophisticated and make measurement seem simple (The Earned Media Value Index!). But, as those of us in the movement to establish standards have said a million times, there is no one number or one calculation that provides a single value for social media results. Each social media program has a unique set of objectives, markets, resources, and stakeholder groups. So the notion that measurement can be based on an automatically derived index is ludicrous — let alone putting a summary dollar value on it. These trumped-up “metrics” are social media snake oil, and the many companies that offer them are our Measurement Menaces of the Month.
Firms like SocialChorus and the like seduce naïve marketers into putting fake numbers on their social media efforts. These bogus metrics then get passed up the food chain as if they were real measurement.
There are two problems with this:
- When you present this useless data to your boss or board, the odds are very good that some smart finance guy will not just reject your data, but will then proceed to wipe out your social media program with a quick stroke of red pen.
- The other is that this type of simplistic, dollar-value measurement perpetuates the notion that social media is valuable only because it’s a cheap way to get your messages out. Social media — and PR in general — has far more valuable applications. The most dramatic social media ROI numbers come from organizations that use social media for so much more than broadcasting messages, like customer service, product research, and solving problems.
So, next time you encounter this sort of simplistic social media measurement, remind yourself that your social media is not that simple to measure, and its value lies in much more than just mentions. ∞