This panel discussion tackled the topic of how to determine what metrics social marketing campaigns should be evaluated against and how to help those unfamiliar with social marketing campaigns overcome their hesitation/fear of putting their brand/service out there for all to see.
Questions that were addresses included; Does social media really matter? Who is using it? Is it just blogs? and How do you approach the issue of metrics knowing that there is not a clear measure of it? I found these questions very interesting as we (the agency) are asking pretty much these same questions.
A few key points that came out of the discussion include the how different CXOs have different perspectives of social media, they think about it differently and therefore, have different risks to consider when it comes to social media. And a brand/company should be ready AND willing to address any possible negative feedback that their product/service may receive AND use that negative feedback to reach a solution, to acheive improvement.
In regards to metrics, it was stressed that this is something that should not be done just for the sake of doing metrics...it's more important to know what motivates your audience to interact with your brand. For instance, don't focus all your attention on the impression level your brand receives, focus on how high (or low) the level of engagement your brand receives. Look at time spent with your brand and what people are commenting...these types of metrics will provide a better value of social media. So even though your brand may have seen a low level of impressions, if those that encounter your brand are engaged by it, then it is a higher success than what a high impression based campaign could provide.
As far as the general hesitation/fear of entering into the social media realm, especially when there's little to no experience with social media, it's important to have direction from the bottom up AND the top down. What that means is that those within the company implementing the social media elements need to be able to clearly communicate what it is they are doing and those at the higher level must be willing to participate in the efforts as well. The panel mentioned one great way to get the various company CXOs motivated to become involved in social media is to use peer pressure...show them what their competition is doing and get them motivated to do it to. ;)