When it really comes down to it, how effective IS your social media presence? At some point all web marketers, business decision makers and regular users ponder this conundrum. Social media is a unique tool, one designed to serve, not only an informative function, but an interactive one. While websites directly solicit purchases or other goal related actions, social networks invite free flowing conversation between multiple audiences and the organization.
Every day thousands of engagement amateurs incorrectly use social network feeds as traditional advertising rather than instruments of conversation. This lacks creativity and wastes time, money and energy. Social media’s real time nature turns hefty when bogged down by adding content and updates better suited to an existing website or static information webpage.
a horse of a different color
Just as social media functions differently from traditional websites, its metrics for success differ as well. Analysts and marketers determine a web presence’s success by the volume of incoming web traffic, the total daily bounce rates, total amount of time users spend on the website and other raw data like this. When dealing with social media, success becomes a little more difficult to quantify and evaluate. A point-and-click page “Like” gives no real indicator of engagement. A user may “Like” your page because their friend or coworker asked them to, not because they truly have an interest in engaging with you and your page’s conversation or content. Sure, your page may have gained a follower, but has it gained a real fan that responds, shares and “Like”s posts regularly?
The post-F8 Facebook now separates popular content from more static items on user feed pages just as Facebook users have always mentally separated the pages they check daily from the pages they “Like” out of obligation or coercion. Take notice and begin evaluating your social media using metrics that really count.
what really matters
Now that social networking has become THE way to network, public relations image and planning leaders have created a demand for network analytics tools. Web developers have happily responded to their call.
There are lots of tools available now for Facebook, Twitter and more to help you determine fan network activity. However, of all the options out there, one’s star power exceeds the rest: Klout.
Klout stands out by giving users a snapshot number of their influence on fans or followers. This “Klout Score” simplifies how engagement can be quantified and gives users an easy to find and understand visible reading of real social media engagement and engagement growth from point A to point B. The Klout analysis engine determines Klout Scores by digitally evaluating:

  • True Reach – Klout looks at all social networks of which you are a part and evaluates how many followers on those networks you actually reach. Active users are the ones who are not only real, but also have a real interest in your content. They interact with you, truly “Like” you and respond to your conversation prompts.
  • Amplification – This factor measures the number of incidents or the frequency that those within your true reach act upon your content. When you post a funny video, do your followers share it, comment on it and “Like” it, magnifying your content’s visibility from their feeds to their friends’? If so, their activity will increase your amplification and Klout Score.
  • Network – This quantifier uses a blend of the above two factors as they pertain to third party users. From these scores, Klout determines your third: the power of your overall social media network. If users who fall within your true reach come from actively amplified networks with several followers themselves, then your Klout Score benefits. For example, if you tweet out a message about a great new recipe you just created, would you rather be retweeted by Emeril or Jay’s Garden Tools? Getting your style of content retweeted by other social media heavy hitters within your same interest bracket takes your name and messaging further and supplies you with inherent credibility.

room for improvement
While Klout does have its flaws and the controversy to give these flaws clout of their own, for the moment at least, marketers have found that Klout’s benefits outweigh its pitfalls. In terms of advertising or PR tools, social media is still the new, mysterious, cool kid in school – analysts and advertisers are still trying to understand it enough to get an special seat at its lunch table.
Truly effective social media analyses use critical thinking and basic PR strategy in addition to tools like Klout. Active and vigilant network monitoring, sharing and strategizing will do wonders for your social media. Keeping the conversation fresh and interesting gives your presence real purpose and a great return on investment. Use the right tools, the right content and the right strategy and you will always have the big clout of a trusted industry e-voice.