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June 2, 2010 / Brandon Raper

Dear Facebook, what’s in it for me?

Dear Facebook, what’s in it for me?

The infamous question all CEO’s should be asking.  What’s in it for me?  Facebook has taken off, it’s no secret.  All businesses are creating fan pages for their sites, no matter what the size.  Mom and pop shops have even jumped on the social media bandwagon, but what is in it for them?  How can you even measure what you’re getting from an external site with no direct way of selling merchandise or services?  Monetary gain from social media is the main focus of any competent CEO.

“Social media” has become the hottest thing since Beanie Babies, yet there is speculation around every corner.  “Who cares if I have 6,000 followers on Facebook?”  “Who cares if someone retweets my post?”  All of these situations don’t have direct correlations to sales and if you are paying for man hours and development of a fan base there better be a quick change in revenue or it will look like a waste of time.

Since social media is still in its infancy, there isn’t a distinct way that each company should go about measuring leads, sales, and brand awareness.  There are hundreds of sites on the internet that are trying to crack this code, so here’s my outtake.

Social media isn’t going to have an easy go to route to measure the success and influence of each individual social media website.  In fact, it’s going to become more of an analytics battle than anything.  I hope anyone with the desire for a social media career is an out of the box numbers thinker.  At this moment in time there is only one efficient way to track your social media success.

Overlaid analytics.

Overlaying analytic data gives a precise time in history that social media was incorporated in the budget and how it is directly affecting sales.  Sources of analytic data can be found very easily, from radian6 to Google analytics.  Let’s take it back to the days of the overhead projector in grade school.  Transparent sheets were used with whiteboard pens to display information that could be projected onto screens in the classroom.  With computers and projectors now they’re starting to become extinct, but bare with me.

Let’s place a hypothetical overhead projector in our office and look at sample information.  Say your company CEO approves the creation of a Facebook, Twitter, and blog on January 1st of 2010.  Three months in you have a following of 3,000 people on Facebook, 2,000 followers on Twitter, and your blog has created a long list of subscribers to the RSS feed and email list.  The CEO says that’s great…but what is all this conversation doing for us?  Don’t be caught with your mouth open and no words, be prepared with numbers.

Here’s where the overlay comes into play.  First, you need to create a timeline of when your social media campaigns were created.  In this story, each campaign was created on the 1st of January.  Three months later and you have a timeline that looks something like this.

Now that you’ve set your social media timeline, you have to create a sales/revenue activity timeline.  Let’s say the sales activity graph looks something like this.

Each graph shows a distinct increase in both followers and sales.  Displaying both timelines shows an obvious correlation between social media and amount of revenue brought in.  If we paste both of these graphs on top of each other, much like on that overhead projector I was speaking of earlier, we can see the exact correlation through the timeline.

Using a correlation between sales and when social media campaigns were created is a great start to measuring success with this new hot topic.  To ensure further success there must be precise, clearly defined goals whether it be monetary or to increase brand awareness.  The topic of social media metrics will be never-ending, just make sure not to join the conversation because everyone else is.  Social persuasion doesn’t create good business.



Leave a Comment
  1. Lauren Vargas / Jun 2 2010 9:28 PM

    Thank you for the shout out. Indeed, ‘what is in it for me’ can be answered by your data, but you have to know what you are measuring first. What action are you requesting of your fans/followers? Good job showing the correlation between listening/engagement and sales.

    Lauren Vargas
    Community Manager at

  2. Brandon Raper / Jun 2 2010 10:15 PM

    Thanks for the comment Lauren. This post was really just a starting point for many college graduates trying to inch their way into an internet marketing career. I myself have just graduated with a marketing degree and am taking an initiative to gain as much knowledge on the subject as possible.

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