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One question asked by all researchers and evaluators is “Are we measuring what we intend to measure?” This question of validity connects leaders with how to use metrics for decision-making. Stanchak’s blog today Why are social media marketers still relying on “soft” metrics? asks the question and then asks respondents who are “leading marketers about social media practices and issues” whether they rely on such metrics. Below are the responses the nonscientific SmartPulse poll provided:

Stanchak adds:

There’s a longstanding debate in social media circles about the usefulness of so-called soft metrics — “likes,” comments and shares…

… it can be tricky to link these engagements to business outcomes

The good news, of course, is that a majority of readers say they’re not relying on such metrics at all…

To be clear, I’m not saying that retweets, etc. are worthless — just that they probably shouldn’t be your end goal…. And they certainly shouldn’t be your primary measure of performance if you know, deep down, that they’re not effective metrics for what you’re trying to accomplish via social channels.

More generally, though remembering the number of respondents is not shared with the readership and the poll is nonscientific, one might ask what it means that nearly three out of four (73%) of the respondents are utilizing such metrics incorrectly? That is,

30% do not believe the measures are valid and use them to measure performance;

25% believe the measures are valid and do not use them; and

18% believe the measures are valid and use them. [As per Stanchek’s blog comments.]

Stanchak questions the use of “soft” metrics and then concludes:

Are marketers using soft metrics because they believe these metrics are the best measures of social media success? Are they confused about social media ROI? Or is it for lack of other options?

Be honest with yourself and measure what really matters to your brand.

Great leaders constantly collect information on the measures they use to coach teachers and to improve their leadership. They measure and record student performance, parent satisfaction and employee engagement targets and align with district goals. They share the data in order to help teachers, parents, and other stakeholders determine which teaching methods are working and which ones need to be improved.

 

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Stanchak, Jesse. (September 19, 2012). Why are social media marketers still relying on “soft” metrics? SmartBlog on Social Media. Available online.

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