Selecting a vendor for anything can be mind-numbing. It can also be frustrating if you instigate the process with outreach asking for information. This is the first in a multi-post miniseries on selecting a measuring mechanism for my agency’s social media efforts. The process of narrowing down our choice has been an interesting microcosm of the sales process as it relates to SEO and SEM, actual sales contact and closing the deal.

My starting point, of course, was a web search. We would try to find four to five vendors, contact each requesting information or a call back and go from there. Using Google, I typed in “social media measurement.” The screen capture is below:

Screenshot: Google search

I found it interesting that none of the big names in online measurement show up on the front page of a basic Google search for the term. Granted, the term is broad, but outside of the paid search links, I got mostly blog posts.

(Note to self: Write more posts about social media measurement, get residual organic inbounds. Wait … that’s what I’m doing.)

Disturbing to me, though, was the fact that companies allegedly able to harness the power of the web and dial it down to a set of monthly reports to show how effective your marketing efforts are, aren’t able to perform SEO for themselves. Is this going to be like hiring a mechanic who drives a jalopy?

Pleasant to my surprise, however, was the top result: Jeremiah Owyang’s blog and his post category listing “social media measurement.” I’ve long been a reader and admirer of Jeremiah’s. I’ve even had the honor of him visiting this blog and commenting, so my search produced a trusted source.

While I could go on about all the different information Jeremiah provides in his archive of posts (and I did, only to decide this would end up being a gratuitous Owyang love-fest, and he still won’t toss back cocktails with me at Blog World Expo in two weeks), a quick study points to a post listing the major social media measurement agencies.

It is from this list that I began diving into websites, reading propaganda and narrowing the list of who I would contact for further discussion. Keep in mind I started with a Google search and clicked through to the top result, but only because I knew that website/writer and viewed them as a trusted source.

From here we began outreach asking three basic questions:

  1. What information can I gather from your reports?
  2. How do you differ from other measurement services?
  3. How much do you cost?

The results of our outreach move past SEO and SEM and into sales tactics, to come in part 2.

Related Posts You’ll Find Interesting

  1. 8 Meaningful Measures of Social Media
  2. Website ROI: Getting Key Performance Indicators Right
  3. Social Media Measurement Deconstructed
  4. Measuring Social Media: No-Cost Tracking Tools That Work (PODCAST)
  5. Sorting Out Social Media Measurement

[tags]social media, social media measurement, measurement, metrics, ROI[/tags]

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://overtonecomm.blogspot.com/ Kami Huyse

    I happen to love Jeremiah too, but I am interested, have you come up with a short list yet? I have been looking into many of the companies myself and just saw a new (and might I add very interesting tool) today at the PRSA convention. It might also be interesting to publish a short list and see which ones come to visit you here. A good sign of if they are following the conversation about their business.

    At any rate, thanks for the link.

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  • http://net-savvy.com/executive/ Nathan Gilliatt

    The point of my post (“sorting out social media measurement”–thanks for the link) was that “social media measurement means different things in different contexts. A lot of the discussion is an extension of web analytics–measuring audience and behavior. Most of the companies on Jeremiah’s post are in the social media analysis game–measuring online content (answering the question, “what are people saying online?”).

    Helping companies find the right vendor is a major part of what I do. It starts with the Guide to Social Media Analysis, which gives you more information about the companies than any list (more, in fact, than you’ll find on most of their web sites, too).

    http://www.socialtarget.com/research/

    Apologies for the blatant pitch, but your questions are exactly what I set out to find out at the beginning of the year.

  • http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com Jason Falls

    Nathan, no problem with the blatant pitch. I asked for it. Thank you for the response and sharing the knowledge. Glad to have linked to you and to read regularly. Thanks for stopping by.

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  • http://www.ShiftedPixels.com.au Nick HaC

    We have been using BuzzNumbers – http://www.BuzzNumbersHQ.com – for monitoring and reporting online media for our clients?

    Is anyone else using BuzzNumbers? It seems pretty good but i wonder how it compares to some of the bigger end of town products like Neilson?

  • http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com Jason Falls

    Hey Nick. I haven’t checked out BuzzNumbers but I’ll give it a shot and see what they have to offer.

    Bottom line for you, though, is this: Is it giving you the information you or your clients want? If so, it’s a good investment.

  • http://www.ShiftedPixels.com.au Nick

    BuzzNumbers gives us an excel report we give to our clients, showing how effective our online marketing efforts are.

    The good thing is that if one of our online marketing campaigns isnt performing, we know early and can act fast to bolster the success of the campaign.

    If we do do a good job, and say, one of our blogger pr campaigns goes well, we have this report that allows us to show the value of what we do.

  • http://www.estudiosfdesign.net/seo/thematic-optimization%E2%84%A2-by-seop-com.html SEOP.com

    Though some people are a bit scared with social media trashing SEO, I still believe that both can still be utilized as tools for online marketing.

    Thanks for sharing this info.

  • http://www.estudiosfdesign.net/seo/thematic-optimization%E2%84%A2-by-seop-com.html SEOP.com

    Though some people are a bit scared with social media trashing SEO, I still believe that both can still be utilized as tools for online marketing.

    Thanks for sharing this info.