Best Practices in Social Media: Measuring the Impact

social meetingOne of the greatest anxieties CEOs have about social media isn’t the content or the level of customer or media engagement. It’s whether the investments are worth the time and money.

To date, too many of the social media programs I’ve reviewed aren’t about contributing to a transaction or a sale. They’re focused on communications or followers. And while a strong social relationship with a customer is valuable, it’s difficult to measure for too many companies.

One firm that’s figured out how to measure social media effectiveness and tie it to business success is the Japanese unit of Randstad, the global HR services firm. Randstad Japan launched a proprietary job tweet program in the fourth quarter of 2012 to enhance the distribution of its open positions. Via 61 accounts (segmented by opening, job level and location), the unit distributes between 600 and 2,000 jobs per day.

All of that volume has helped Randstad Japan extend its reach and improve visibility. More important, it has used the program to enhance the business by improving conversion rates. And even more important, it has developed a set of metrics that illustrate the program’s effectiveness.

And that’s the kind of analysis that gets the attention of senior management.

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For example, Randstad Japan has (through the second quarter of 2013):

  • Increased job portal visits via Twitter by 225 percent
  • Improved conversion rates from 1.7 percent to 2.8 percent
  • Decreased cost/conversion from 1176 yen (about USD$8) to 362 yen

Through trial and error, the firm has also learned that its Twitter campaign is more effective for spot work (day-to-day) than longer-term assignments.

A recent survey of chief marketing officers (CMOs) conducted by Duke’s Fuqua School of Business determined that nearly half of CMOs have not been able to prove the impact of social media on their business and that only 15 percent can show quantitative results. This data are key when you consider that the same study revealed that 66 percent of CMOs feel pressure from their CEO to prove the value of marketing and 60.1 percent said that the heat from senior management is increasing.

In the case of Randstad Japan, continued development of social media programs and metrics will not only improve the quality of their returns, it should also eliminate CEO concerns over the value and impact of their investments.

MORE: Why discounting social media is bad for business

Jim Lanzalotto
Jim Lanzalotto runs Scanlon.Louis, a strategy and marketing outsourcing firm that helps companies grow. He can be reached at jim (at) scanlonlouis (dot) com.

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