Measurement in social media has long been a hot potato. There is still limited solid information out there upon which to make reliable ROI based decisions. However, there are big strides being made towards more tightly focused metrics. A thought-provoking piece published this week, suggests that Twitter reach may be around the 2% mark. It was not a scientific study, it was a piece of personal research aimed at kicking off a debate around Twitter’s true impact. So for balance, a similar metric developed last year suggested it may well be 10% with the additional value of up to 1.3% CTR.
Reach is a good kick-off point, however Twitter is not merely a broadcast medium. These stats are just the start for the true potential of Twitter. Used properly and consistently, it is a powerful tool for engagement. If your brand is simply using a Twitter stream to post press releases, then 2% readership could be a cause for concern, especially as you have no control over who your readership is and also your brand is unlikely to understand its true influence in the space. If it is part of your overall social CRM strategy however, one of your tools for engagement, then simple readership is just part of the overall package.
Social communication is not all about followers, or readers, or fans. It’s about a new way of communicating and co-creating, it’s about creating exceptional service and finding out if you’ve got a service problem. This is not to be dismissive of the purist measurement of the reach of social media. It is essential that this becomes more robust and as an industry we are starting to get more scientific with open source movements such as ‘Measurement Camp’ helping to build more reliable models that will stand even your FD’s scrutiny, but we need to ensure we keep focused on social media's killer USP and that is 'dialogue'.