In Social Media: Come From the Heart, But Watch the Data

by Eric Harr on October 20, 2011

“What you need to do is get that tape measure out, and start measuring that gut. Then you start working out and you start eating properly till that gut gets down close to it was when you were in your 20s. Then you’ll find out what your weight should be.”

–Jack LaLanne

Jack LaLanne was one of my heroes. Crikey O’Reilly, the man pulled a boat, handcuffed, from Alcatraz to shore. He set a world record of 1,033 pushups in 23 minutes—on television! At 65, he towed 65 boats filled with 6,500 pounds of Louisiana Pacific wood pulp, while shackled.

The man understood that goals require measurements.

Most people look at life subjectively: “I am doing well at work.” “I am exercising more.” “Family life is good.” But they don’t have an objective understanding of it.

This may sound geeky, but I measure what matters most to me. I track how many hours I spend with my family. I track how much time and money I give to CARE—and how many lives that is impacting on the ground. I measure my speed, distance and heart rate in every workout. And I monitor Klout score, audience reach and website conversion rates for our clients. I know, total dork, right?

In social media, measuring progress towards clear, time-based targets that drive your key objectives is critical. Here’s are three important tips…

Trust the Numbers

Everyone has an opinion in social media. They tell you how often to Tweet, when to post on Facebook, how long videos should be, how ad copy should read, how websites should be designed, and so on.

There’s a lot of “inside baseball” going on; executives are impressed with “social media gurus,” “focus groups” and “market research.”

But there’s one source that’s never wrong: the data. The numbers never lie.

I have a good friend, Mark Kithcart, who doesn’t trust anybody. Let me qualify that: Mark is a wonderful, loving guy who is actually an excellent hugger. He is an online marketing gladiator! When he is designing an online marketing campaign, he always says: “These are all great ideas. But, I have no idea which one will work. Let’s test them all and find out.” Moral of the story: test, measure, test, and then deploy! Like a marketing gladiator!

Ask the Right Questions

Let’s take website design: What percentage of people who visit your home page are converting to your desired call to action? Do you know? Are you tracking that? If so, do you know what influences that conversion rate?

What about Twitter? Are you tracking the number of people who retweet you and @-reply you—and more importantly, how many people are clicking over to your website and buying your stuff? Which Tweets are most effective in moving those conversations to conversions?

Focus on Financial Impact

In social media, non-financial outcomes are aplenty: Twitter followers, video views, whitepaper downloads, Facebook comments. They satisfy the ego, but don’t drive the bottom line. At the end of the day, your business either thrives, or dives, on financial outcomes. While you should always focus first on delivering a stellar product or service that enriches people’s lives, you must also focus your social media efforts on driving your economic engine.

In social media, come from the heart, but watch the data. Jack LaLanne would be proud.

Like the post? You’ll love the book! Eric Harr is the Founder & President of Resonate Social Media, a leading, integrated social media agency in San Francisco. He is an award-winning TV host on CBS News and the best-selling author of the new book “The REAL TRUTH About Social Media: 8 Timeless Truths Uncovered & 8 Monumental Myths Revealed” available now in ebook or print edition.

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