Sure, you can measure your level of social media engagement with existing customers – but what about the world of potential customers you have yet to reach? How do you engage with them? Sociability is the key.
In my last post, I talked about that undefinable buzzword called “engagement” and metrics you can use to measure it.
All of these metrics are perfectly useful in that they measure your relationship with existing “stakeholders” – customers, fans, clients, whoever it is you’re interacting with.
But how does engagement translate into new customers?
The issue points to one of the fundamental problems with engagement, described very aptly by Avinash Kaushik, Analytics Evangelist for Google:
Engagement is not a metric that anyone understands and even when used it rarely drives the action / improvement on the website.
The reason why measuring engagement rarely lead to action is because little is done to do expand the sphere of engagement to people outside of your customer base. Which is a shame, really, because it can be done.
It’s all about growing the network of customers you already have.
If you want to benefit from engagement, you need to connect with potential customers through your existing ones. Ask yourself
- What other communities are my customers involved in?
- Who do my customers listen to? Who do they respect?
- What other conversations are my customers having? Where? With who?
- What values do my customers share?
So if you’re marketing the newest model of a car, find out what current car owners have to say and where they go to talk about it. You might find that your customers obsessively talk about car stereos on an online forum. And there you have it – a topic and a place to connect with the greater sphere of your customer’s social connections.
When you look beyond engagement, and start to understand who your customers really are, you can then use them and their passions to expand your community by reaching out to the other virtual communities where they participate.
But the only way to connect you with those virtual communities is to align yourself with contexts that are already of interest to the community. This is where Sociability comes in.
The goal with Sociability is to provide a metric that answers the question “how social is my topic?” It provides a way to look at virtual communities and find the conversations that are worth getting involved in.
Once you know the conversation, you can actually think about ways to enter the conversation in a way that provides value for the participants. And then presto! You’ve expanded your sphere of engagement and scored a bunch of new fans in the process.
Engagement isn’t a bad metric, but it’s limited in that it represents the impact of conversation with your existing core users. But when you look beyond engagement to sociability, you can also discover other communities that may not yet involve you, but should.
Image by thewavingcat via Flickr