A Hammer Isn’t a House – Don’t Confuse Tools with Metrics

Last week I spoke about The NOW Revolution at a dinner for 50 or so social media and email marketers, all employed by major corporations based in NYC. It was a great time. Steaks were eaten. Wine drank. Books signed. Interesting conversation participated in.

What struck me most, however, was a chat I had with a Director of Social Media for a multi-national brand. She asked me several questions about specific social media measurement tools, and what I thought of each of them. She remarked that she really liked the statistical packages of certain tools based on how they were able to compare data to her competitors, and export that data into understandable formats, and so forth.

I know I was a massive disappointment to her (continuing my lifelong trend of disappointing most women), because I answered every inquiry the same way: “I like their software, but I don’t know if I like it for you.”

Tools Don’t Pick Metrics

It’s terrific that the marketplace is bloated with companies that are offering whiz bang software to listen, respond, measure, and analyze social media. It’s the fanciest bunch of calculators ever devised, and every company in the space tries to differentiate by chopping up the same pile of data in visually compelling ways.

But you can’t be seduced by a tool on your quest to effectively measure your social media program. That’s like recognizing that you love mangoes, and becoming a vegetarian as a result.

You have to know WHAT you are trying to measure first, and then audition candidates for HOW to best perform that measurement.

There’s a lot of excitement about social media, and increasing excitement about social analytics. But you have to tackle it in the proper sequence.

Social Media Metrics Sequence

Social Media Metrics Sequence

Pick social media measurement tools as step 7, not step 1

Don’t fall in love with software, or any one metric so much that it clouds what makes sense for you to measure. If you do, it creates statistical gerrymandering and moves you away from focusing on business level successes.

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