When the Internet was younger and organizations around the world were going through their first round of serious learning and discussion about online strategy, website traffic was king. Website traffic was how you measured influence, growth, and authority (or the lack thereof.) People had to come to you to see whatever it was you wanted them to see. While they were there you had the opportunity to convince them to pay attention and hopefully take some kind of action.
As social media has emerged over the last several years, what had been conventional wisdom for online strategy has shifted because having a “web presence” doesn’t just refer to your website anymore. Now a web presence is spread across a dozen online channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, podcasts, mobile apps, etc. They don’t have to come to us anymore. We must go to them. Each of these channels have varying degrees of measurement, but they are measurable the same way that website traffic was in the pre-social media era.
Three big questions for many organizations I encounter are these:
- Is your web presence one website or multiple online channels?
- Are you just measuring traffic or are you seeking to measure influence?
- What online metrics are important to the boss? (Rightly or wrongly, the things the boss wants to see have to be taken into consideration…even if you need to work on changing her/his perspective.)
We’re in a shift right now from one way of measuring to another. When I developed the LACE method for social media measurement a year ago, it was an attempt to begin capturing return on voice. The shift has arrived and if your online metrics don’t include an way to measure influence and voice, you’re likely going to find yourself fall behind in both areas.
A new era for social media measurement is here now. Perhaps the most important question is this: have you changed yet?