Measuring The Value of Social Media: SEO Starting Point

by Jason Falls |

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]

About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls 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 Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).