How To Suck At Social Media: An Indispensable Guide For Businesses

Violets Facebook, at last count, has 1.5 billion monthly active users.

YouTube has 1.2 billion users (watching 6 billion hours of videos!). Instagram has an estimated 400 million users.

Those are some big gigantic numbers!

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I believe that every human with time to spare, and a connection to the web, should be on social media. The benefits are numerous. Facebook allows you to stay close to people you choose to. YouTube has democratized entertainment and education. Instagram allows you to express your creativity, and soak up expressions from others. Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, others have a role to play as well.

Humans, check.

But, what about businesses? Companies small and big? In India or Japan or the United States?

It comes down to two important questions: 1. Do the big gigantic numbers imply that your business should use these social media channels? 2. If yes, should your participation be the same as regular humans?

I believe that we have never answered the first question. Businesses were told: "The numbers are HUGE!" The second question was never answered either, but because all businesses know is how to pimp that became their default strategy.

The assumption is: Big Social Audiences + Big Pimping = Big Social Profits.

Big mistake.

You know that of course because for your business, after five solid years of investment, this has not proven to be true. Even the people who powered your investment in Social Media, the Gurus, have, reluctantly, accepted this reality.

I believe that it was erroneous not to answer the two questions above, it was erroneous to be tempted by the Big Numbers and not understand how Social Media channels actually worked (streams, home pages, personalization, rankings and more).

So, let's fix that error.

In this post let's look at each Social Network, see what B2B and B2C brands are doing there today, from that draw lessons as to 1. if your business should be on that network and 2. if yes, what should your content (and marketing) strategy be.

The post is conveniently broken up into these sections:

You are welcome to jump to the network you are BFFs with, but I highly recommend reading the strategic knowledge contained in the Higher Order Bits section immediately below. It provides four critical lenses through which we will look through. If you skip that section, you might not understand why I'm saying that you should immediately stop all your efforts on Twitter!

Ready to smell some ground truths? Here we go…

The Higher Order Bit.

There is a lot that you are going to disagree with in this post, because when one is proven wrong it is always hard to accept. We are only human. But, if you read this section carefully, the higher order bits might create enough of an opening for you to read the rest of this post (which I'm convinced will result in major riches for you – after a change in business strategy of course!).

Human vs. Business.

You read this above, but I want to point out again that this post is not about if humans should use Social Networks. They should.

Last week I'd asked this question on my Twitter, Facebook and Google+ pages: What's the point of Pinterest? For businesses? Could you help me out?

Many people were kind enough to reply. Most answers were what you should do on Pinterest or who is on Pinterest. Those are helpful. What I wanted to try and understand is why a business should be on Pinterest.

Just because you and I find value on a Social Network does not imply automatically that a business should be on it. There are plenty of Social Networks where humans find value from other humans and businesses should just butt out. (You'll see examples below.)

It is a good idea to separate value for a user from the value to the business.

Success Metrics.

Any business venture should yield short and, hopefully, long-term value. In my Oct 2011 post, Best Social Media Metrics, I'd created four metrics to quantify this value.

Conversation Rate (CoR) is a ratio of comments per post (or video or tweet or pin etc.) to overall Followers (or Page Likes). Is what you are saying interesting enough to spark the most social of all things: a conversation?

Amplification Rate (AmR) is the ratio of shares (or retweets or repins etc.) per post to overall Followers (or Page Likes). Is what you are saying so incredible and of value that I'll stamp my brand on it and forward it to everyone I know?

Applause Rate (ApR) is the ratio of favorites (or post likes or +1s or hearts etc.) per post to overall Followers (or Page Likes). Do I think the content you've posted is interesting, even if I won't bless it with my stamp and forward it on?

Economic Value (EcV) is the value of short and long-term revenue and cost savings. Do we make any money from being on Social Networks?

Using a tool like True Social Metrics, you can quickly create a glorious centralized dashboard like this one for your Social Media efforts…

best social media metrics

Please see the post for more details on how to calculate each metric. For the rest of this post, I'm going to use the first three to capture the essence of social engagement and brand impact, and one to measure impact on the business.

A simple way to have a thoughtful discussion with the Social Media Gurus, and your boss.

PS: There is a belief promoted by some that the value of being on Social Media is simply the impressions. "So what if no one interacted with your Twitter feed, at least they saw it!" How do you know? "It's ok if no one engaged with the three seconds of auto-play, it still creates a memorable impression!" How do you know that? I believe the best way to measure success is to measure the above four metrics (actual interaction/action/outcome). But, if you believe the aforementioned assertions, you should prove them via controlled experiments. It is not that hard. See Lesson One and Two on proving Causality. The causal impact does not have to be on Revenue. It can be a brand metric, say Likelihood to Recommend. Unless you prove this, impressions is just like selling air.

The Business Framework.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that perhaps the single greatest thing ever created here, :), is a simple framework you can apply to your entire digital strategy. It covers, content, marketing and measurement. It's called See-Think-Do-Care.

The framework is not a funnel (#funnelsaredeadlonglifefunnels). Its beauty is that it moves away from company selfishness and solves purely for audience intent. If we have an opportunity to engage with an audience, what's the intent that that audience is expressing through their digital behavior. Due to this beautiful fact, it does not also worry about age, gender, income and other demographic or psychographic attributes. We have intent, why be the terrible Marketer that discriminates?

see-think-do-care-marketing strategies audience intent fit

Every marketing channel we have access to, solves for some audience intent. For example, Paid Search solves for Think and Do intent. Social Media solves for See and Think intent primarily. If you have an effective Care content strategy, some Social Networks can solve for Care as well.

This is very important to remember as it helps us identify what we are solving for with Social Media. An example of the implication: Don't expect short term sales/revenue from any social participation. There is no Do intent!

MoR Test.

It is pronounced the more test. It is an acronym for a test I often use in my consulting engagements. It stands for: Money off Roof test.

It is a simple test: Would we create more Social Media activity if we took all the money we are currently investing in Social Media and threw it all off the roof of our office building?

The way it works is that you compute the total cost of your Social Media program: SM employee salaries and benefits, agency fees, content acquisition/production costs, analyst salaries, executive time invested etc. Then, you withdraw that amount of money in $5 bills. Now you take the elevator, or stairs to be healthier, to the roof of your office building. During prime time, say noon, you throw the cash, off the roof. Surely, when cash is floating down from the say, people will grab it and tweet it, write posts on Facebook, post pictures on Instagram, and of course videos on YouTube. Measure all this Social Media activity.

money off roof test

If the Social Media activity is more than what you are currently getting on your current social platforms, why are you on Social Media? If you simply want buzz, you are better off just throwing cash off your office building once a month. No?

You'll see examples of this below. Google SMB channel on Facebook fails (massively) the MoR test. Innocent does not. Toyota and Febreze fail as well. Galco does not.

The serious point is that when we choose to invest in Social Media, it comes at a cost. Not just what we are investing on Social Networks, but also what else we are not doing. The opportunity cost . Many of the companies below don't have mobile friendly websites. Their mobile apps, if they exist, are atrocious. When you search for them, if you find them, you end up on sub-optimal landing pages. Most don't have decent display advertising strategies with Yahoo!. Their email marketing programs are, literally, leaving money and customer love on the table. Some have the worst lead gen page known to womankind. But. They have a regular presence on Social Networks.

If they fail the MoR test, why not take that money and invest in the aforementioned six ideas? The brand and performance ROI to the company is clear and direct.

We'll apply the MoR test as we go along.

With these higher order bit taken care of, let's look at each Social Network to identify if we, as a B2B or B2C business, should be on that network, and, if yes, what should our participation strategy be.

2BR02B: Facebook for Businesses

Facebook, deservedly, is the king of Social Media. The employees at One Hacker Way have managed incredible growth, tried to out-innovate themselves out of jams that killed earlier networks, and have made tons of money. Their strategy on mobile is rightly lauded by everyone.

Every human should be on Facebook. But, should every business be on Facebook?

As with all other Social Networks below, let's take a look at some B2B examples (good and un-good), some B2C examples (good and un-good) and arrive at the optimal answer.

The Google Small Business page on Facebook is an example of a B2B strategy. With 1.6 billion monthly active users on Facebook, the theory is that it is a good way to get to the 28 million small businesses in America (more impressive SB facts).

We all know that Page Likes is a profoundly sub-optimal metric. It's only purpose now is to get a hypothetical sense for definitely unreachable audience size, and to trick gullible Sr. Business Leaders.

The Google SB page has 34k Likes.

google small business facebook

On average, the AmR (Amplification Rate, my most holy social metric) is Zero.

As in, no one believes anything contributed by Google on this page passes this test: Is what you are saying so incredible and of value that I'll stamp my brand on it and forward it to everyone I know?

Check it out…

google small business facebook detail

The ApR (Applause Rate) is usually under ten.

I want you to think about that. T. E. N. Not ten as in ten thousand or ten million. Think of Google's size. Think of how many people engage with Google's various marketing bits and pieces every day. On Facebook Google manages ten (on a good day).

You'll also notice that CoR (Conversation Rate) is usually two or three. Recently, this is how bizarre it is, the exact same two entities make the same non-value added comment on every single post, and one of them replies to the other!

And, no one from the Google SB Facebook management team seems to care enough to check-in with these two folks and figure out what the heck's going on.

For now Google SB Facebook page, without replies, without any care for ApR or AmR or CoR, continues to post couple times a day. Likely because someone somewhere, employee/agency, has a contract to post something every day.

Examples of this lack of accomplishing anything are in every post…

google small business facebook detail2

So, why does Google stink so much?

Yes, a part of this is the changes to the Facebook algorithm that has minimized the number of your Likers who will see your content organically. And, the more you stink, rightly, Facebook will show it to even fewer.

But, most of it is the strategy executed by Google, and many companies, on Facebook. I call it the "checklist strategy." Be on Facebook, because the Marketing team has a checklist of things to do.

The checklist strategy does not give a gosh darn about what is actually happening. You'll notice the Google SMB Marketing team has never replied to any comment by anyone, nor has it ever engaged with anyone on anything on it's Facebook page. How is that being social?

They consistently and only pimps random Google things on Facebook, five years after it was established how sub-optimal this strategy is. How quickly would you get tired of someone telling you everyday how pretty they are?

Finally, remember the number above. There are 28 mil small businesses in America. Why not focus on a cluster, or in each post focus on a type or location or something that shows you care, and then talk about them? The current generic slather approach currently, wrapped in Google pimping, is mis-directed.

Here's how heartbreaking things are. The video kicking off #socialmediamonth has 4 video Likes, 61 views!

You see this strategy on almost all of Google's Facebook pages, here's the one for my beloved AdWords

google adwords facebook

Yes. Two people on planet earth thought this was of value.

Actually only the first post. Zero for the second one. And, Zero most of the time when the AdWords marketing team posts content.

They have 420,152 Page Likes. AdWords made $35+ billion last year.

They post everyday. Often multiple times a day. What problem is the AdWords marketing team solving by engaging two people on Facebook?

All of Google's numerous Facebook pages fail the MoR test on a colossal scale. That is painful, but Google does have money to expend in value-deficient activities.

What is makes me weep is that people use Google as an example of how to do things right. Even if ten more small businesses open Facebook pages because Google has one, and emulate Google, that is ten people sent in the wrong direction by Google. This hurts.

Google of course is not alone in being a B2B company that executes this checklist, non-social, non-audience-centric, MoR test failing strategy on Facebook.

Here's another big company… General Electric… I've computed the ApR, AmR and CoR for you…

general electric facebook

Zero point zero one five percent. Zero percent. Zero point zero zero one percent. Let that sink in.

What business value, brand or performance, was delivered?

GE, another company with tons of money to expend in no-value activities, has not seen a fad it won't jump on. I'm convinced that there is an army of 20 people at GE, and 25 at their agencies, simply waiting for the next flavor of the month to show up so that they can be there first to engage with the 14 people there. It matters little if those 14 people are relevant.

If you don't believe me… launch a Social Network called Slapchat tomorrow, I promise your the first business account will be opened by GE ready to slap whomever shows up.

There is value in being first, but I'm not sure that is a smart social strategy.

You are welcome to look at the Social KPIs and decide for yourself…

general electric facebook detail

With 1.5 million Likes, is it possible that only two people amplify the content because of the millions snapping chats there is no one who cares about GE? Checkout both the comments above.

Think of how many people love college football in the US. Millions upon millions. 40 people Liked GE's invitation to tailgate on Snapchat with GE. It had AmR of one!

GE is at the other spectrum of Google. It's trying too hard to be relevant/cool. What it shares with Google, and other B2B companies on Facebook, is that it has not figured out what content actually adds value to people who might choose to like GE on Facebook, and it does not seem it has figured out how to talk about anything else other than itself.

Clearly GE, or it's agency/ies, is spending lots of money producing videos, graphics, words. When you sum up the cost, there is no way it passes the MoR test.

Are you at a B2B company? Say, TEKsystems on Facebook. Take these filters, now go look at your AmR, ApR, CoR. What do you see? While Facebook's algorithm will not share your content with all your Likers, are you seeing anything decent?

Does your company pass the MoR test?

Maybe the problem is B2B. Who want's to be reminded of work when they are on Facebook? Let's look at B2C companies.

FritoLay has products that touch every single American, every single day (some, multiple times!). It's Facebook page has 2.3 million Likes. It AmR hovers around zero or two. On rare occasions it breaks double digits. It's ApR is in the low to mid-double digits. The CoR is in the very low double digits.

frito lay facebook

This even though it is clear from the page that FritoLay/agency is pouring tons of money into creating content. The problem of course is that for FritoLay the Earth revolves around the Sun. Sorry. The world revolves around FritoLay, as illustrated by it's content.

You can also checkout any random FritoLay brand on Facebook and if could possibly pass the MoR test.

Consider Tostitos. Big company, big billboards, big tv commercials, big in-store posters and banners. They have over three-quarter of a million Likes on Facebook. AmR of their last few posts (as of Oct 30): 0, 2, 19, 2, 28. CoR? Between two and 20 on average. Out of three-quarter of a million Likes!


All they do all day long is pimp. Or, think Facebook is a place to run contest. On a See-Care channel, they are executing a Do strategy.

Want to see an example of that strategy in all it's massively unproductive glory? Switch from food. Try H2O Plus on Facebook. It is unclear from their content, and performance that they are aware of the golden formula for Social Media success: Entertain me. Inform me. Provide Utility.

Let's pivot even more, try the most B2C of entities, a car company. Let's take a look at Toyota on Facebook

toyota facebook

2.5 million Likers. But, small AmR, ApR and CoR.

And, the above post is one of the more popular ones. As is this one…

toyota facebook 2

Certainly better than GE numbers, on any given day. But, reflecting to the world what it sees in the mirror every day is adding negligible value to Toyota. You don't even need the metrics to see that.

In the absence of actual value (Inform, Entertain, Provide Utility), many Facebook visitors use the opportunity to ask for help or complain about problems they are having…

toyota facebook 3

All in all, a profoundly sub-optimal performance no matter how you look at it.

Here's the ironic thing: If you search on Facebook, tons of people love their Toyotas. They share meaningful human stories. Even on Toyota's Facebook and comments. Yet. Toyota's SM team / agency / PR entity continues to use Facebook to primarily pimp.

MoR test outcome? Sad.

Let's look at a B2C and B2B example of companies that do pass the MoR test on Facebook.

One of my favourite examples of a consumer brand, that beautifully truly gets social, is Innocent Drinks. They have 500k Likers, and they routinely whip brands much, much bigger. In fact, pound for pound, they do much, much better, with every post, than the company with 94 million Likers, that owns them: Coca-Cola.

innocent drinks facebook

Checkout the AmR, ApR and CoR. To me, that last one is impressive. I'm hundreds of people engage. They are just as funny/snarky/insightful as the brand itself.

Every once in a while there pimping by Innocent, most of the content is topical, relevant for the audience, and geared towards making them smile…

innocent drinks facebook 2

Not every post gets ten thousand shares (#omg), but you'll see a persistently positive outcomes for the three social metrics.

Innocent does well because it executes entertain me and provide utility so well.

It is nearly impossible to find a single example of B2B that passes the MoR test. But, there is always one exception to the rule. For me, that's the impressive accomplishment of Fluke on Facebook.

Their strategy is to focus on inform me and provide utility. Here's one example of their content…

fluke facebook

Fluke has 143k Likers. As you can see above they do really well for their size when it comes to our three social media metrics.

I have not spoken to Fluke's Sr. Management in a little while, but I think what they have done that is great is get a really solid understanding of who their audience is. And, through experimentation, what is it that they want on Facebook…

fluke facebook 2

Content perfectly targeted at their audience, in the above case to try and provide value to help them do their jobs better. Yes, hopefully, with Fluke products. But the emphasis is not on selling (overtly or covertly).

Here's another example of content that engages, and add value… beyond the "enter our contest" or "take our quiz about pants we are wearing today" that are far too common on Facebook pages…

fluke facebook 3

On a See and Care audience intent channel, Fluke's content is created for their Largest Addressable Qualified Audience and Extra-Loyal Customers. They have, rightly, skipped obsessing about Think (Weak Commercial Intent) and Do (Strong Commercial Intent). Because, that strategy simply does not work on Social Networks!

It is very difficult to do what Fluke, for B2B, and Innocent Drinks, for B2C, have demonstrated above. It is not a money thing. It is not we have x agency or y employee thing. It is a DNA thing.

Let's answer our two questions we started with, for Facebook:

Should your business be on Facebook?

User interactions as a percentage of Likers is now 0.216%. This is provocative, but your business should not have a page on Facebook. Claim the URL. Leave it blank. No one will miss you in this world.

As a business you should take advantage of Facebook's immense audience by having a paid advertising strategy on Facebook. Purchase display ads, purchase video ads, purchase any other ads available.

Ads targeting See intent and Care intent will work the best. Measure them just as you would any other display or video ads on any other property.

Think and Do intent is not expressed on Facebook (if you insist on Think and Do ads, use Assisted Conversions and Conversion Rate to identify how very wrong they are for Facebook).

What content should you publish on Facebook?

No. Just buy ads. Target See and Care intent clusters.

If you insist on publishing content on your Facebook page… 1. Solve for See and Care intent (entertain, provide utility). 2. MAKE SURE you buy advertising from Facebook to "boost your posts". Organically you'll reach a couple percent usually, to reach rest of your Likers pay to boost your posts.

Bonus: Facebook Advertising / Marketing: Best Metrics, ROI, Business Value.

2BR02B: YouTube for Businesses

YouTube is incredible. Any stat you look at is impressive. Here's one: The number of people watching YouTube per day is up 40% YoY since March 2014! You would think that everyone who is supposed to be watching YouTube every day was already doing it! Apparently not.

Two things I'm personally most impressed about are: 1. The raw number of individual superstars YouTube has created. There is no other social network where that would have happened. Food. Comedy. Music. Education. Therapy. Pick your favourite. 2. From Egypt to Ferguson, the ability of video to foster change. Some for good. Some not. Change nonetheless.

And, I'm totally ignoring the fact that prior to YouTube I could not binge watch Ira Glass or Jeremy Paxman for hours!

So. An amazing platform.

Let's look at B2C, B2B examples of what businesses are doing on YouTube and answer our two questions.

The tendency of most businesses is best expressed by this example of Febreze. The thinking goes: "YouTube has a billion people watching videos. We currently target people watching video type entertainment on TV. We have TV ads. Let's continue our spray and pray strategy!"

fabreeze youtube

In case the content left you in doubt (and it does not), the title of the video makes the purpose quite clear.

The problem for Febreze, and everyone looking to simply replicate spray and pray, is that YouTube is not TV. For example, unlike TV, people pull content proactively. There is a lean-in nature to content consumption, rather than lean-back. And, unlike TV, here there is a feedback loop. People hate you on TV, you have no way of knowing. All you measure are GRPs. If you truly, gloriously suck on TV, perhaps there's a report on some paper out there. On YouTube, your feedback is attached to your content…

fabreeze youtube comments

If you have as many thumbs down as thumbs up, I assure you, you are doing something massively wrong. There will always be thumbs down (dislikes). For even decent content, the thumbs up will dwarf the dislike.

And, why are people doing thumbs down?

I thought you would never ask. Just look down a bit more at the comments. The person cursing the brand has six thumbs up, and zero thumbs down! And, replies!!

The problem in the case of Febreze was not just the spray and pray, it was also the content in the ad. When I first saw it, and the other ads, I wondered if any ads could be any more clichéd. The traditional gender roles. All people of the same skin tone. Women good. Men bad. Women laundry. Men lazy. And more.

Turns out, I was not alone…

fabreeze youtube comments2

So. Febreze has 326,091 views for this ad. What's the business outcome? Yes, it is likely the Brand Manager considers this to be a success as they were only solving for reach. But. The brand is being hated. Was trying to reach that billion users with a strategy not built for the channel worth it? Here's the important part, every Febreze employee, and Febreze agency employee, has access to all of this data. Still…

fabreeze youtube 2

Another Febreze video is above. Checkout the up/down numbers. You can also look at the entire collection. Nothing in that collection reflects Febreze's basic grasp of what YouTube's true strengths are, or that with just a little effort Febreze can build an incredible owned audience on YouTube that will rival anything it does on any other channel – online or off.

Febreze has a Do intent cluster strategy on YouTube. What YouTube is really fantastic at is See, Think and Care.

Massive missed opportunity. Collecting anti-brand-love along the way.

Febreze of course is hardly the only brand is possibly failing the MoR test.

Much of the content on Colgate Oral Care's channel is an example of the above.

colgate us youtube

You can also checkout Colgate's channels in Brazil, Mexico, India, Philippines, Australia, UK or others you'll see on the right above. Same mis-match.

And, there are other examples as well across the entire business spectrum. You can use the same filters to measure their impact.

Here's the Tide Pods: Waitress commercial on YT. 41 up. 17 down. It's a great clue, even without reading comments, even if the views were 4.6 million. Ignore the comments. If people can't even be bothered to thumbs up/down your content, what's the point of all that shouting? 58 people love/hated it out of 4.6 mil! Four point six million! At least get more hatred!! Or better, do something worth talking/sharing in a medium that's magnificent at it.

Here's Liberty Mutual Insurance. 605k views. 213 up. 248 down! And, the comments. Oh, the feedback in comments. :(

There is no dearth of sub-optimal strategies. It is not just about shoving your TV ads (when you could just as well create wonderful alternatives easily!). It is about this whole self-first and self-only strategy that is widely prevalent in B2C companies. Here are some examples: Bank of the West. Kroger. HP. Sprint. Oh, and Finish. #heartbreaking

Let's switch gears and look at examples of B2B companies.

Over the last month 146 videos have been uploaded to the Cisco YouTube channel. The highest view count for a video is 3,794! In fact there are on only three videos of 146 that cracked three digits. The average number of views seems to be around 150.

Consider this… Cisco has more than 150 buildings here in the valley. Each of those buildings full of hundreds of people. Yet. 150 views. Some of this content seems like polished, expensive content produced by Cisco's agencies. All of whom, of course, have way more than 150 employees. That implies that even people producing Cisco's content are not watching it!

So. What's the point of being on YouTube?

cisco youtube japan

And, Cisco has 25 other channels full of videos. On so many of them, videos rarely cross into double digits. (Ex. Check out Cisco Switzerland .)

Is Cisco simply executing the "checklist strategy" on YouTube? We are a business. We have to upload videos on to YouTube. No. No, it does not matter if anyone is watching them, or that those who do find them to be of value.

Cisco is by far the most unique in under-leveraging a platform with more than one billion engaged monthly users. Go, pick a random B2B company, there will be a YouTube link on their home page, give the channel a quick review.

The problem? B2B companies treat YouTube (and Facebook above, and three other Social Networks below) as their PR channel. This would encompass TV ads, newsroom things, obligatory CEO keynotes/interviews, dense product stuff, and much much more.

If you step away from the mirror and give my business framework a thought, it is all about our customer and not us. B2B companies usually don't consider customer intent. They only care about themselves. YouTube is best at delivering against the intent of your largest addressable qualified audience, an audience with some weak commercial intent and your extra-loyal customers. The intent can be best met with content that informs, entertains, and provides utility.

Since we are on B2B, let's look at an example of a couple of B2B companies that do get the above paragraph.

I love Galco Industrial Electronics' G-TV channel, it uses YouTube's strengths perfectly.

Galco is a distributor of industrial electrical and electronic components. Sexy! (Ok, I'm a Mechanical Engineer.)

Galco TV YouTube

(In the five days between taking the above screenshot and today, their YouTube subscribers have gone up by 400. That is how you know you are doing YouTube right.)

It's YouTube videos are primarily focused on Think and Care audience intent clusters. Though videos like the one below could just as well be solving for audiences with See intent.

Galco TV YouTube advantages of dc motors

You can see in the videos that Katie Nyberg is not just an expert, she is also passionate. While she might just be doing here job, it makes learning about he SLM 700 Modular Electronic Sounder so much more fun.

This screenshot gives you a sense for Galco's content strategy on YouTube…

Galco TV YouTube details

While they have just under 10k subscribers, and Cisco has 117k, you'll notice that almost all Galco TV videos have more Views than those of Cisco.

Another comparison. TechwiseTV is a Cisco thing on YouTube. The last episode, very slick, very polished, very well produced, has 125 views, zero comments, zero thumbs up or thumbs down. People can't even be bothered to hate on it!

How incredible is that? You solve for audience intent, and they show up and engage!

And, just to show you that B2B companies, even esoteric ones, can do more than PR, here's FANUC America Corporation.

Fanuc youtube

Most of their content is solving for Care audience intent. A little bit of it is solving for Think. Most of their robots are for cool things you might not care for. But, here's one that is way cool: A robot that cuts cakes and packs them!

That's B2B. If you want to consider B2C businesses, there are tons of great examples. Let me share two from my experience.

I love the consistent and wonderful effort from Carphone Warehouse on YouTube.

carphonewarehouse youtube

They've sharply defined their focus as See and Think audience intent, and they have a wonderful emphasis on Inform and Provide Utility. Here's a great example, comparing the Nexus 5x and Nexus 5. I'm not sure I get their See (Entertain ) content, Keith Lemon videos. But, perhaps it's a British thing. :)

Air New Zealand's YouTube channel is an example from a different industry.

The customized YouTube page is a nice touch. You can see the latest video, you can see the header on the top that brings up more customized pages, and at the bottom is always the route map of where Air New Zealand flies. You can search directly from YouTube!

air new zealand youtube

What is remarkable about Air New Zealand is that it not only has the obvious things like safety videos, they have custom series they've produced just for YouTube, they have location delights, they have extensions they've made for their TV ads (unique for YouTube, for example for Hobbit), and so much more.

They are solving for See and Think audience intent clusters – both YouTube strengths.

It is really hard to beat Air New Zealand. I think, WestJet is even better. It is perhaps easiest to share that with this exercise that I encourage you to undertake on your YouTube channel…

westjet youtube

WestJet warms my heart. For their content strategy above, but for one other reason that they are uniquely amazing at.

WestJet does these "big bang" videos. Their last one was the WestJet Christmas Miracle. Amazing. 42 million views. Many companies do this. Big bangs. Then. They go away to make the next big bang. Or, the Brand Manager's already promoted and so they are on to their next thing and there is nothing sustainable left behind.

WestJet is unique. They have a big bang strategy, and it works. Additionally, they are consistently on YouTube creating See, Think and Care content for all the days that are not Christmas or big bang days. This is rare. Companies are rarely this committed, rarely understand what it takes to build an owned audience this much. And, their creativity is not limited to that one trick (give free trips on Christmas). Most brands get stuck on their big bang.

Here's one more B2C example,Absolut is doing an amazing job.

Finally, if you want to do even better (is it even possible!!), checkout Unilever's excellent All Things Hair UK. Their strategy is to own the conversation around Hair on YouTube. Here's my write-up on six things they did different, really different.

It is an example of perhaps the best strategy I've seen executed by a big company on YouTube. Just one of the many small clever things they are doing: The gadget on the right detects my local time, temperature and weather. Knows it's raining here. Links to a "Let your style brighter up a rainy day" video. #omg

On YouTube uploading videos is not enough. You have to have an owned, earned and paid acquisition strategy.

REI, as an example, has amazing YouTube content. Yet. Nobody is watching it.

You can't just post content on YouTube and wait for your audience to arrive. You have to have a strategy to bring your largest addressable qualified audience to your channel (TrueView, Display Ads, See-Care Search ads/SEO), you have to invest in inviting your existing customers (Care). You have to have a specific strategy to convert them into Subscribers, rather than solve for the empty calories of Views. You have to build an owned and engaged audience. At a certain point your Subscribers will start to drive the first hundred thousand plus views, you only have to worry about the subsequent hundreds of thousands.

Another, smaller example, is Colgate's attempt at Tooth Tube . The videos could be of value, but they were uploaded and forgotten. They have 10k views, or less.

Let's answer our two questions we started with, for YouTube:

Should your business be on YouTube?

YouTube presents a very distinct opportunity for B2B and B2C companies to build an owned audience, rather than just renting them from TV or magazines or newspapers.

The caution is that a strategy of simply uploading and waiting for the world to discover your glory is a terrible one. You have to have an owned, earned and paid acquisition strategy. If you can't invest in these three, you just might be better off skipping YouTube.

For the paid acquisition strategy, try to avoid years of sub-optimal habits from TV. Skip demographics and psychographics. You have intent on YouTube. Use intent to target your paid efforts.

If you want to put your TV ads on fast rotation on YT, it might not be the wisest strategy in the world. See above.

What content should you publish on YouTube?

See, Think and Care intent clusters.

Measure them using metrics in the bonus link below.

Bonus: YouTube Marketing And Analytics: A Primer For Magnificent Success.

2BR02B: Google+ for Businesses

There are many good reasons for humans to be on Google+, but there is no current reason for any business to be on Google+.

You should wait and watch and see the evolution that happens in the product over the next 12 months.

2BR02B: Pinterest for Businesses

This was the meme that inspired me to post my why should any business be on Pinterest question.


There is absolutely no question that Pinterest is a phenomenon. In categories like Food & Drink, Home Decor, Fashion, Pinterest's 100 m monthly active users find immense inspiration. It's users are 81% female, though Males are growing quite nicely.

More recently Pinterest has shared that 70% of its users engage by saving or clicking on something. I know of a number of people who practically live on Pinterest! They contribute tons of content, and consume voraciously.

Our questions are the same for businesses. Should we be on Pinterest, and, if yes, what should we publish.

Let's look at B2C and B2B examples.

Starting with someone who might be a perfect fit, L'Oreal Paris. I love the brand.

Here's their presence on Pinterest

loreal pintreset

They have several boards, solving for See and Care intent primarily, though there are elements of Do intent content or calls to action sprinkled throughout.

As with other social channels, we can measure three of our four metrics, Amplification Rate (repins), Applause Rate (likes) and Economic Value.

L'Oreal has 7.7k followers. A small number for such a big company. It's boards have inspiring information, this one closer to matching Care audience intent…

loreal pintreset inspired eyes

As you can see it has 6.9k followers. Most of the pins are repinned around fifty times, or less, with ten or less likes.

Is that level of engagement of value to L'Oreal, given all else that it is engaged with in digital marketing. Can it find 8k people to engage with in fifty or smaller chunks anywhere else?

Checkout BCBGMAXAZRIA on Pinterest. Many more followers, 125k. If you look at their Front Row Seat at NYFW board, you'll see similar low engagement rates. Less than 40 repins, less than 10 likes per pin.

Even Target with it's currently 338k followers, on its Epic Halloween board with 89 pins, averages to 23 repins and 10 likes.

If you switch over B2B, here's the Pinterest presence of Cigna Insurance…

cigna pintrest

What is great is that it is extremely focused on helping people be healthy. This is wonderful. We would consider it solving for See audience intent cluster. This would be a fit for Pinterest.

Their overall Follower number is 673, after 1,600 pins on 20 boards.

cigna pintrest-salad bowl

If we look at one of the boards for Salad Bowl Monday, it is clear that Cigna is investing money to produce good professional content. But, the engagement rates are quite low. Few to none like numbers and very small repin numbers (if any).

This is not uncommon for B2B companies that are attracted by 100 million MAUs for Pinterest.

To look at another example, here's IBM…

ibm pintrest

It is unclear why IBM is on Pinterest. They have very few followers, and low engagement.

For example, the Cognitive Cookbook has 46 pins with most having zero repins and zero likes (or just a couple). IBM Design board, you might consider it to be a closer fit with Pinterest audiences, has at most one repin and/or one like on each of it's pins. Perhaps less than might be required to pass the MoR test.

Let's answer our two questions we started with, for Pinterest:

Should your business be on Pinterest?

For B2B companies, the answer is a pretty straight-forward no. Take the money. Do many of the six things mentioned at the start of this post.

For B2C companies, for some categories there might be value in having an organic presence. Check for how your peers are doing. For example, David's Bridal or Lowe's both have quite low engagement as measured by repins and likes (I don't really have sales numbers, but each repin would have to result in massive average order value to justify).

For B2C companies in Pinterest's top boards categories (like the ones mentioned above), leveraging Promoted Pins or Buyable Pins might be an excellent way to monetize Think and Do intent expressed on Pinterest. (You can measure it using Assisted Conversions and Conversion Rates.)

If you really want to focus on inspiring but selling stuff as well, I would recommend Houzz type strategy, rather than Pinterest. There are many others like Houzz as well for different categories.

What content should you publish on Pinterest?

If you choose to have an organic presence, focus on the See and Think intent clusters.

If AmR and ApR metrics justify it (i.e. they indicate a passing grade on the MoR test), you should continue that presence.

2BR02B: Twitter for Businesses

Twitter, my first Social Media love.

It is unclear what Twitter is for at the moment, it is undergoing a key reflection at the moment. The next 12 months will be interesting.

Twitter has 270 million active users global, with a penetration of 16% among the US population. It is really fabulous as the news breaker of the web. If you follow a manageable number of accounts, and are good at weeding out, then it is also a really wonderful way to know what your friends, people you find interesting, are reading/recommending.

Let's flip the order and look at B2B businesses first on Twitter.

Can you get more B2B than Deloitte? I think not! Deloitte's account has 267k followers on Twitter, quite healthy. Here's what they tweet about…

Deloitte twitter

As you can see, Deloitte's tweets struggle to crack double digits when it comes to AmR (retweets) and ApR (favourite). If you click on any of the above tweets (or click on the time stamp), you can see the amount of conversation they are fostering. For almost all of Deloitte's tweets, that number is zero.

The audience on Twitter best expresses See and, possibly, a little bit, Care intent. It is primarily about your largest addressable qualified audience, and delivering value to them.

Deloitte, global account or US, mostly simply looks at itself and what it cares for. Hence, the audience does not care for almost all of what they say. For the US account, it is not unusual to see tweets with zero.

It does not seem like Deloitte is investing a lot in Twitter, even with that low engagement it likely fails the MoR test. There are literally 50 other things Deloitte can do to have 10x the impact it is having on Twitter.

As always, another example you can check for effectiveness, or lack there of, is General Electric. They are on every single social channel on the planet. :) You'll see in GE's Twitter presence, AmR and ApR rarely crosses 15. One five. Their current follower count is 382,000. Divide fifteen by that number. There's your effectiveness – value. No argument about what the MoR result is.

One more example from a different industry is LogMeIn ….

logmein twitter

A very different profile, very different audience focus, yet the same results. Mostly zeros across the board, or once in a while the number one. Fails the MoR test.

If you look across B2B accounts on Twitter, you'll this same pattern of very quickly failing the MoR test.

Let's switch to B2C and analyze performance.

Expedia's Twitter account might be a great place to start. If Twitter is a perfect fit for See audience intent, Expedia should be the perfect entity to deliver that.

expedia twitter

Expedia stays focused on vacations and travel (as one might expect). Most of their content (above, below) is solving for Think audience intent (largest addressable qualified audience with weak commercial intent) and a little bit for Do audience intent (largest addressable qualified audience with strong commercial intent ).

As a result, you can see AmR metric is either zero or a tiny handful and ApR is a little better but rarely crosses double-digits.

expedia twitter 2

There is a tiny handful engagement on Do intent, but the numbers simply can't justify a pass for the MoR test given the size of Expedia and the sheer number of people it touches every day with Think and Do intent. What is sad is that often there are no replies from the account, even when people ask for inspiration…

expedia twitter 3

There are exceptions, of course. Here's an example of one such exception for Expedia. If that is what works, most of the time why does Expedia do everything else that does not?

Sticking with the travel theme, we can checkout my fav Hilton Hotels (this year I'll sadly miss being Diamond VIP by a little bit, for the first time in five years!).

Here's their presence on Twitter… Lots of asking people to look at how very cool Hilton is (PR angle rather than solving for See audience intent)…

hilton hotels twitter

As you can see the numbers, publicly visible to anyone who wants to see them, including the Hilton Social Media team, are in low double digits, or single digits. You can't quite see the Conversation Rate (CoR) above, but do click on any random tweet. It's usually Zero.

So, why is Hilton on Twitter?

Actually they are not only there, they are also on Periscope (they are the GE of the B2C world! :)). I watched the most recent one, as I was doing research for this post…

hilton periscope

I was on Wi-Fi but the video I got was 33.5 kbps circa 1999 quality. And, the wonderful Hiltonite just walked around the hotel pointing things out. It was unclear what problem Periscope was solving for Hilton.

Is it not possible to see pictures of the pool and exercise area of the Beverly Hilton at their website? Or a decent quality video on the site or YouTube? Or, were the handful of people who watched the stream live, in the process of considering a vacation in Southern California and hence this tour was held for them? What is the value of this to Hilton (even from a branding perspective)?

Switching gears to a B2C company with 1.72 million (!) followers, Target ….

target twitter

On a See channel, Target is executing a Do strategy.

The result of that mis-match is clear in the AmR and ApR metrics you can compute above. Almost always, zero point zero zero something percent. Except for the Calum Hood tweet. More Calum please!

These are of course not the only examples of B2C companies with MoR test failures.

Try Urban Outfitters on Twitter. Or Old Navy. Or Skechers USA (The average amplification? 2! Applause? 5!) Or winners of possibly the most sub-optimal understanding of why social media exists: Wrangler Jeans (Close to zero on either metric). Yet, they are Vine'ing away!

Not convinced? Try any Kellogg's brand. Pop-Tarts is a brand would seem like a brand that should have social in it's DNA. They tweet everyday, sadly they prove that they don't. Also, try Kellogg's Krave. [Don't click on any of the three links in their Twitter bio, all 404.]

Even the amazing and impressive Nike should rethink what they are trying to do on Twitter with their organic participation. With almost four million followers (!), the very best they can do is AmR of around 150 and ApR of 450. Think about that. You have a, on paper, chance to engage and excite 4,000,000 people. You do that for 150/450. Success?

Should Nike continue tweeting because these 150/450 happen to the most influential customers? The highest purchasers? Superstar humans?

I know, it sounds crazy. But. Give me 60 seconds. Clear your mind. Think about it.

If Nike is hard to think about, try Coke. What are they accomplishing with 3.12 million followers that they can't using maybe 5% of the investment they are currently making in their Twitter strategy?

And, if the mighty Coke and Nike are at this low level of value… What does it say about the rest of us and our far, far, far smaller brands?

Let's answer our two questions we started with, for Twitter:

Should your business be on Twitter?


And, unless you are targeting Journalists or Social Media Gurus, the ROI on buying Twitter's advertising offerings will yield sub-optimal results.

What content should you publish on Twitter?

If you are the exception to the rule for a B2B or B2C business that passes the MoR test… focus on See intent of your largest addressable qualified audience. [Though the difficulty in finding that is exactly the reason you should not be on Twitter.]

2BR02B: Instagram for Businesses

The social network I currently love the most.

Just a few months ago Instagram had 300 million MAUs, it has 400 mil as of this month! The daily actives are around 75 mil, an impressive number. 70% of the users are outside the US (in contrast to Pinterest). Perhaps most impressively, Instagram boasts the highest user interactions with brands as a percentage of a brands' fans of 2.26%. This has fallen from 2014, it was 4.21%. But, consider that the number for Facebook is 0.21% and Pinterest, as is obvious from above examples, is 0.04%.

A quick note on our standard metrics. ApR and CoR do exist on Instagram. But, Amplification Rate as a concept does not really exist on Instagram, though the facility is there. As no URLs or clicks are possible (except if you hunt the bio and even then it is unclick able), Economic Value as a concept does not exist.

Let's look at some B2B and B2C examples.

Dolby Labs markets its brand to us normal humans, to entice us to ask for equipment with Dolby, but most of it's sales are to other businesses.

Here's their Instagram profile…

dolby instagram

From the 2,296 followers Dolby has, the engagement is around 50 likes (ApR) and mostly zero comments (CoR).

Every once in a while you'll see a comment, but it is not clear if it is the audience that Dolby wants…

dolby instagram 2

You can contrast their performance with my Instagram account – business vs. normal human…


That helps you understand who Instagram might be for.

Another B2B plus B2C combo company we can look at is Dell

dell instagram

Dell has 52k followers on Instagram, from 569 posts. The ApR is right round 500. CoR is between 5 and 40, though closer to 10.

Consider Dell's size, it's marketing activities, even the number of emails you can possibly guess Dell sends every day. If all of those big numbers are a way to tell people about Dell, what might be a good reason to be on Instagram to tell people about Dell as well.

There are too many B2C examples out there, let's look at one where you might expect massive engagement, drinks all around!!!


Sadly that is not really the case.

It is the pimping problem again. Is the above being truly social? And, this is a social product!

Instagram as a channel is best at See audience intent. Just See. Though, in this case what's unique is that if you are really good, really, really good, you might collect around yourself your largest addressable audience and not just your largest addressable qualified audience. And, in this case, it is a good thing.

You have to, of course, play to it's strengths.

This company does, guess who…

go pro instagram

Yep, GoPro!

Beautiful brand, with a built in advantage to shine on Instagram. With almost 7 million followers, and gloriously magnificent ApR and, even better, CoR, it does really well for itself.

A great example of B2B business is Mailchimp. It might seem like no creativity can flow from someone selling email marketing solutions. But, you would be wrong to think that…

mailchimp instagram

Mailchimp executes a near perfect See (and a bit of Care) intent strategy. It's ApR and CoR numbers reflect that.

One of the more clever things that you'll see on their account is introductions to the employees. Many people do that. Mailchimp's is unique. They tell you a little bit about the person, but, as you might expect on Instagram, it is the picture that takes the cake…

mailchimp instagram 2

Very clever, very creative, perfectly suited for this channel.

Let's answer our two questions we started with, for Instagram:

Should your business be on Instagram?

Yes, and no.

For B2B companies, the medium might not offer a fit. You'll fail the MoR test.

For B2C companies, if you have a built in advantage like GoPro, Bonobos, Adidas, Virgin America, Instagram is a great medium for your See audience intent strategy.

If you don't have that advantage, you are likely going to fail the MoR test quite easily.

Instagram has a limited advertising strategy (image, video, carousel ads). If you buy them, you can tie value to increase in followers to your Instagram account or with a, likely big, controlled experiment the impact on your brand metrics.

What content should you publish on Instagram?

If you are Instagram, See audience intent content with a special emphasis on creativity.

That's it!

We are done with our quest!!

Social Networks are still in their infancy. It should be clear by now that chasing them purely because of large audience numbers on these networks is a failing strategy. I hope the specific recommendations in this post will ensure that your valuable marketing dollars are being spent in the most valuable manner possible.

Infancy also means that things will grow and change and crash and evolve and everything in-between. As long as you remember the higher order bits at the start of this post, regardless of my specific recommendations above, you'll be able to make the best decision for your company.

All the best!

As always, it is your turn now.

Do you have a higher order bit you bring to Social Media thinking that I've missed? As you reflect on your company's Social Media existence, would it pass the MoR test? Is there a Social Network where your recommendation would be different than the one I suggest? Why? Is there a specific strategy, on any of the above Social Networks, that you've found to create sustainable business value? Do you love a SM metric that I've not mentioned above?

Please share your feedback, critique, stories, pain and success via the comment form below.

Thank you.


  1. 1
    Joel Ginsberg says

    Very informative article, thanks for sharing. I mostly agree with your conclusion that companies should not be on Twitter because, for the most part, they're annoying and don't provide anything useful to me. The only exception would be news and entertainment companies that link to their content.

    However, there are rare occasions where a company's twitter spokesperson downs a shot of tequila and says "f*** it" because they're tired of corporate buzzwords. And those are the moments where twitter accounts shine!

    And that speaks to the value of twitter. It's public, instantaneous, and it can provide a real connection between companies and customers when used appropriately. You can see that the tweets where the company says something off-the-cuff get thousands of favorites and retweets. However, this increases the risk that your social media presence will be offensive to some, but in my opinion it's worth it.

    I love companies that are willing to be honest on twitter because it shows that they maintain a semblance of humanity in their operations and are probably honest in producing their products and services as well.

    • 2

      Joel: I have to admit, I enjoy those as well. My all time favorite was perhaps the tweet from @ChryslerAutos:

      But. Think of it from their perspective, isn't the above a very good reason not be on Twitter! No company want's the risk of someone with access to the account saying f*** it and tweeting something! :)

      Your macro point is absolutely correct. Authenticity, transparency, humanness (I lump these into "being social"), is absolutely critical and is appealing. As a business, you have to consider if that is something you want to do, and to what end. Then, figure out if AmR, ApR, CoR makes the effort worth it.


    • 3
      Juliany berg says

      Digital marketing extends beyond Internet Marketing to include channels like SMS and MMS that do not require the use of the internet. Anyone doing business online should seriously consider formulating and implementing a solid plan to tackle several or all of these areas to ensure success. You don’t have to be seeking a monetary profit to employ digital marketing.

      It’s basically about using various methods to advertise directly to other Internet users and to drive people to a designated area. People and brands who have not caught onto the fact that everything is digital nowadays may have their businesses suffer greatly. I got myself certified in Digital marketing and various other aspects in Sales and Marketing which helped me a lot.

  2. 4

    Aside from the comparison of un-like metrics at the very beginning of the article ;) – I was a bit surprised by:

    >Should your business be on Twitter? No

    I don't think that's a clear "no" based on the selected examples that you gave. Businesses have a twitter presence to interact with their customers. And discovery through twitter ads isn't dead by any means.

    • 5

      Richard: Apply the four metrics, or even the MoR test to the @gostats twitter account. Is the "engagement" you get on twitter (clicks, reshares of your content, conversation with your business) worth the effort you are putting into it?

      If I just think of GoStats, which sounds like a wonderful web analytics tool btw, why would you spend even five minutes a day on twitter? Would GoStats not benefit more from you using Optimizely to run a quick A/B test to optimize your site landing page to improve signups?

      I don't have access to all GoStats data, but I would use the above approach to arrive at the best answer for your business. (Remember, everything in this post is not about you the person, human on twitter. It is just for businesses.)


      • 6

        Avinash, thanks for your thoughtful response. I mean that the examples you found for twitter were not very strong ones. (gostats included – but in the past @gostats did very well tho on those four metrics. – Look at a brand like @tacobell who does well with their strategy and outreach.

        You are totally right about optimizing landing pages for GoStats.

      • 7
        Venkatweetz says

        insightful response @Avinash. I appreciate your responsiveness in comment conversation.

  3. 8

    Hi. Since some of your readers could be digital marketing agencies and it is difficult to figure out how to engage users through the social media channels in this b2b area, It could be interesting to know something about the social media strategies of Market Motive.

    • 9

      Hi Matteo — FWIW the social strategy here at Market Motive is evolving rapidly over recent months. I've been leading the marketing dept for MM brand the past couple of years. Our merger with Simplilearn this past June has brought together two marketing departments with two different histories, track records, and philosophies… we're still sussing out the best channels and strategies for our two brands.

      That said, my personal favorite part of social is listening, responding, and interacting with people 1 on 1. Our mission is to improve people's lives, businesses, and careers through professional education and training. Any time we can use social to empower someone to take that leap, encourage them during the process, help solve their challenges when they arise, and celebrate them when they succeed, that's a win for me.

      And I'd be lying if I said we don't look closely at articles like this from Avinash and the rest of our faculty to help guide us. I'm re-evaluating our metrics right now in light of this particular gem, and 2016 should be a great year for us on social as we adjust and evolve.

      • 10

        Thank you Chip. I am looking closely at your webinars, courses and at articles like this, but I am still wondering how a little and local web marketing agency or any B2B company could exploit all the features you all talk about here and there, when it comes to a very specialistic business area and the audience is a small and local one. Are we bound to give up with social marketing?

        • 11

          I'll defer to Avinash (and our other faculty) to discuss how best a company like yours might use social. But I'm glad to know you're doing your homework and looking around … knowledge is power! :)

  4. 12

    .A superb exposition on social media usage and value. Way beyond your highly rated emails.
    I have read your offerings for many years, and this one is the best.

    I would only have one small addition which should be added to your analysis on the use of social media to a business.

    That is the effect of using social media – as a business – has an increasing value in determining the position in google search of that page of the business website. Thus aiding sales.

    Recently Mr. Google has developed, at last, additions to its algorithm which have been forecast by people such as David Amerland and Mark Shervington. This is the Knowledge Graph.

    Also highlighted by an analysis of the patents which Google had purchased over the years. A summary of them, and their uses, can be found at Daniel Tan's site.

    These point to the use that Google would apportion to the rankings in its algorithm which needs the use of social media in a carefully structured manner. This together with schema markup would help a business's pages to be ranked.

    How would one include these factors in your analysis?

    • 13

      Louis: A most excellent point. Thank you for highlighting it.

      Indeed, Social activities are indexed by Bing, Google, Baidu and often ranked where freshness might be a valuable factor for the search query.

      Here are a couple of things to think about.

      If your Twitter/Pinterest presence shows up on Google in response to a query, a click on that will show up on those channels and then in turn be reflected in AmR, ApR and CoR. Additionally, if you are ranking for particular keywords over a period of time it will also show up for EcV. So we are accounting for a sudden influx of traffic from Google to our social presence.

      Secondarily, except for some of the pure See audience intent queries, I would much rather prefer that my site, my blog on my site, my videos on my site, show up higher on Google and Bing and Baidu rather than my presence on Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest. For this simple reason: They are my owned property where I own the experience, data, options, creativity, outcomes rather than the finite existence on my social channels where I own very little.

      These two factors influence my personal thinking around the intersection of Search and Social.

      Thank you for your wonderful question, I really appreciated it.


  5. 14

    Hello Avinash,

    To be honest at the outset. I cant think of anything you would say that I won't just accept blindly. And also… the STDC framework is part of possibly hundreds of great things you have selflessly given to your audience. Thanks for all that sir.

    I was, like the other two commentators above, taken aback by the fact that you are suggesting businesses shouldn't be on twitter, a few on facebook and so on. I have to say I would disagree to saying they shouldn't be present at all but I totally agree that they should be there with a clear content strategy and understand what the channel (and its audience) are solving for.

    I saw one of Rand Fishkin's 2012 Mozcon speeches on content strategy (which I think is relevant today also) a couple of days ago. And I think that… coupled with your suggestions here, can possibly help any social media marketer/content marketer/brand manager/whoever-loves-their-brand enough to work out a strategy with a better chance of working out than failing.

    Also… I am sure a lot of people reach their optimal strategy after a lot of trial and error. I wouldn't tell them not to venture into the social space at all. They could be the exceptional ones.

    Thanks for your post. Its people like you with posts like this who continue to be the inspiration of the countless people like myself trying to do something of value in digital.

    • 15

      Muhammad: I'm all for experimentation (as you learned from our wonderful Market Motive course!), and I'm all for trying things.

      At some point though, three months in, six months in, five years in, it is a good idea to take a cold hard look at performance (AmR, ApR, CoR and EcV) and reassess. It is massively important to assess the opportunity cost of the investment in a social strategy.

      Then, use that to decide path forward.

      PS: I do recommend not taking five years to reassess! :)

      • 16

        Hi Avinash,

        Thanks for the response and for remembering me. The market motive course was a life changer for me. I am still working on soft skills to get the message across to the right people in my company. But I am getting there one step at a time. When I do you and John will be the first people to know… because I know your student's success is your ultimate KPI.

        Actually… it is a good idea to start with the MoR test after a couple of months into launch. And measure opportunity cost every quarter.

        AmR, ApR, CoR and EcV have become my ultimate drivers ever since the course and I have felt that interacting with other people and getting them to challenge their own preconceived notions of greatness (which is usually VIEWS) is the biggest hurdle to customer centricity and answering to the ultimate business objectives.

        Thanks again :)

  6. 17

    I've found GE listens on Twitter.

    I've had several incidents involving a GE stove and microwave. In each case I tweeted at GE and got a response quickly and help with my problems.

    I've taken to first tweeting at companies with whom I have a problem. Always interesting to see who is listening.

    • 18

      Jim: I'm delighted that your experience with GE Tech Support has been so positive. Many Kudos to them!

      Here's my personal strategic perspective on Support. Very few people are on Twitter, of those very few are your customers, of those very few are in trouble. Why just solve for them? Usually at the cost of most of your customers who are emailing you, calling you on the phone and trying traditional means?

      I'm passionately against this.

      Consider Amazon. It is not on Twitter. And, for the life of me, I can't find their phone number. But. I know that at any moment I can email them and very quickly my problem will be solved. So. I don't care they are not on Twitter. I don't care they have a phone number.

      If GE provides this fast support across all channels, then even more kudos to them. But, that is not a typical reality.

      So. I love your experience. But, I would push the above evaluation, solving for all customers, or solving for where most customers are, and being exceptional at that. Rather than, be good only at Twitter (or Facebook or Google+).

      Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this point of view.


      • 19

        Amazon is on twitter ( 2.11M followers), and they have a dedicated Customer Support twitter (35.1k followers).

        I've certainly found that Twitter is useful not just for issues, but for the type of issues which are more casual than a product return etc. There are often questions and queries which aren't important enough for me to pick up a phone or craft an email which I can tweet and get a response to reasonably quickly, which then makes me more likely to purchase in the future.

        It also allows me to connect with individuals within a company, rather than as a brand presence, which is incredibly valuable to me – I tend to respect and respond more to them than I would to the more generic brand content.

        There may also be a value in an established social presence from a perception point of view – customers expect to be able to find a brand on social media, and for them to have the sort of presence equivalent to their company. If you looked for Nike and they weren't on any social media it might raise questions about the brand from a perception point of view (even if a logical business analytics suggest otherwise)

        But that doesn't take away from the value of this post in highlighting how important it is to nail down the business benefits of social media properly when it is being used for work as opposed to pleasure – I spend a lot of leisure time on Facebook, but have had to dissuade potential clients from spending much time their as they offer B2B products which would take a lot of investment to possibly make interesting, and for little to no return compared to other channels (search, paid search, email, Q&A sites etc).

        Incidentally, one issue may be your focus on large scale brands – smaller brands can provide a lot of examples of relatively high levels of engagement and interaction because they are able to focus on the people they care about more effectively. If someone posts on a small business page, the owner is likely to be notified and able to respond, whereas if it ends up on a large brand page it involves forwarding the issue to someone with enough authority to respond, who passes the buck to someone higher, and eventually gives permission for something generic 48 hours later…

        There is one thing missing due to the lack of publicly available information, which is the amount of people who actually click through to visit a company website as a result of social media activity – obviously the 90:9:1 rule still holds true to some extent, and you may see a far larger amount of traffic than actually engaged on Facebook, depending on the type of post/business etc you run.

        But as always, it's a great reminder to be constantly measuring and evaluating everything we do against the correct metrics, and making sure they're clearly set out at the beginning!

        • 20

          Dan: Let me unpack some of the wonderfully excellent observations in your comment.

          First, a macro point. Absolutely no company that creates products customers value is going to die by not being on Social Media. Nike could disappear from Social tomorrow, and a handful of people might be like "hmm", a handful of Social Gurus be like "#omg", but Nike is going to be fine. Their brand value does not change either way. Some of the best brands in the world are not on Twitter (or suck at it today!), and it simply matters little.

          I think we are on Social (me, every day, multiple times!) and it gives us an odd sense of value.

          Thank you for sharing the Amazon links. You are absolutely right that they do support on Twitter. A review of their replies seems to be: "so sorry, please go to our site here." This works very well because the channel they are sending us to is used by everyone else, and Amazon is the King of Customer Service. They always go above and beyond solving problems. They don't hyper-respond on twitter as an exception – this is what I was trying to get to in my reply to Jim.

          Beyond that macro point, I'm sure you clearly sense that I believe that customer service does not work in 140 characters all by itself. I do believe that. :)

          [Amazon's main channel with 2.1 million followers has a ApR of around 100 on average, AmR of less than 50 on average, CoR of less than 5. The metrics show such poor performance because Amazon is executing a Do strategy on a See channel.]

          Good point about publicly available information. The EcV metric takes that into account, so for our business activity on Social. Angel Buendia in his comment shared an example where for him as an SMB in Mexico that metric is working very well, hence his investment in Social.

          Lastly, you are right about small companies being more nimble and agile. I believe their size also makes them a bit more social as in the word social. But. I wanted to clarify that I only used large companies as an example because I don't like picking on small companies. The Big Girls and Boys and take critique. There are tons and tons of small companies, using the same metrics not passing the MoR test.

          Thank you for making me think, thank you for sharing your wonderful thoughts.


          • 21

            Hi Avinash,
            Thanks for the comprehensive reply, and it's simply me trying to reciprocate some of the value I've had from your books over the years…

            One thought that I did omit earlier – you reference Twitter as a newsbreaker and for targeting journalists. That's one value which might not be covered by the engagement metrics – I've taught clients for a long while that Twitter isn't necessarily the best traffic driver, but that it's useful as an additional/replacement PR service in that you can connect with journalists, marketers, bloggers etc far better than any other service.

            For instance, I follow various accounts for news, which I never favourite, reply or comment on – but which I often then use/reference on my own websites.

            That's something which is particularly relevant for smaller businesses who may be unwilling or unable to pay for PR services, but who want to get the value out of coverage on other websites (For both awareness and potentially SEO etc).

            I take your point that established companies will not disappear overnight if they aren't engaging on social media, and I agree that when a firm has reached the level of Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola etc, it's not necessary to have social proof. And Pepsi putting everything into social was a good example of when it doesn't matter or deliver the desired results. It's more of an issue when you're an SME and people expect to be able to find you.
            (For instance, Facebook is ramping up business services, including now offering a business verification mark similar to Google +)

            I completely agree that most customer service enquiries need more than 140 characters – and often companies don't want to have customers sending their account details via DM either. I do think there's a value in quick responses to light questions and queries – 'when are you open', 'is this in stock' etc, which tend to be more of an appropriate Twitter usage, along with the quick complaints (The example of someone stuck in a train toilet without toilet paper tweeting and getting some paper delivered to him springs to mind).

            Specifically in the media industry, there are some big brands who get a lot of traffic specifically from social media – mainly Facebook and Pinterest. Outside of that, there's definitely a need to separate the perception of 'free business' from social media, with the resource cost and limited ROI in many cases.

            It would be interesting to see if businesses turned away from Facebook whether they'd re-adjust the organic reach for pages, and that would drive increase engagement as a higher number of actual fans would see the content, which would then allow for more personalisation.

            For example, I'm a car lover. And there are specific Toyotas I love. But I'd rather see pages/information dedicated to the specific model of Toyota I'm interested in, rather than a generic national brand message.

            Honestly, I think we're pretty much in agreement. My concern is that people in a position of power seem to either want a huge number of likes for the sake of it, or dismiss social media entirely, and the right approach is somewhere in between….

  7. 22

    Thanks for this brilliant post.

    Lots of points and ideas I found here, which I am going to explore in coming weeks and will see how those react on my industry.

    We are using Periscope and experienced truly amazing results so far. Need to read this content couple of times more to consume it fully.

    Thanks for all the suggestions and tips.

  8. 23
    John Lewis says

    Looking at the picture that you raise, it's better to run away and set aside social networks :-)

    I do not agree with what you say with G +. In our case, initially nobody shared nothing, but later we began to publish at niche specific groups and the thing changed already in a positive way.

    Twitter on the other hand, if you take it as a See channel, it's not so bad, in fact, it is the only social network where each week we have more users that go and look at our online-shop, unlike other social networks.

    • 24

      John: As of today, I have 483,212 followers on Google+. I assure you, I do not make my recommendation lightly or from ignorance. I think well of the platform for my personal use.

      Google is evolving the strategy for Plus ("the stream") and I'm optimistic as these changes roll out we shall see something of value in a business context. At that time, I will be the first to revisit my recommendation. At the moment, I want to give Google time to figure this out (for businesses) and take my time/money and use it for other business purposes.

      It seems the Collections feature in G+ is working very well for you. I'm delighted to hear that. Based on your experience, I'll experiment with it for a couple of my clients. Thank you.


  9. 25

    I appreciate the detailed rundown.

  10. 26

    Very insightful post! Definitely worth amplification and bookmarking (unsocial way of content applause).

    Would like to comment some of my first thought after reading the post.


    For many businesses it is a feedback and communication channel to respond to complaints, issues and sometimes acknowledgements. The social media metrics for these kind of cases could be reply rate and “problem solving” ratio. And by not being on Twitter, that is the large(st) public speaking platform (in contrast to Facebook with its’ various privacy settings) would be a poor customer care & support, as well as bad brand info amplification. There are plenty of stories where being unsocial did a bad job for the brand :)

    The second point about Twitter (and not only) – traffic generation. While some tweets may not be “socially engaging”, benefit of acquired traffic can be more important. Facebook some time ago added Time Spent on Story as a factor to content engagement evaluation, besides “Likes” and “Shares”. Similarly with Twitter – if users went to read the content and liked it (not by pushing a button, just thought "this is a nice/good/awesome article"), but did not share (although maybe liked the author on Facebook or added to Pocket/Evernote or even emailed) – it does not mean the content is bad.. Don’t wait for everyone to share it (many of us are "like" junkies). I’ve experienced good (and almost free) traffic results and even conversions from Twitter while social metrics were poor.

    So I would say there is a place for Twitter, maybe not for all and maybe for different reasons than Facebook or Instagram.

    And as for the Amplification and Applause – they sometimes may be tricky. You can have a lot of Likes and Shares on content “Share if you like summer” or “Like to get a prize”. Question is how valuable they are for the brand?

    • 27

      Aleksandrs: Thank you for sharing your feedback!

      For support, please see my reply to Jim's excellent comment. I do not believe in investing in rewarding a minority that whines on the most convenient channel.

      For the value of engagement (just reading, no clicking or sharing or anything) please see the PS section in Success Metrics section at the top of the post. I believe it should be measured, it can be measured. It should not be accepted as faith.

      If the Economic Value (EcV) is positive for you (greater than the total cost of being on Twitter) then you are absolutely right, AmR, ApR and CoR don't matter. Tweet away! :)


  11. 28

    I agree with a lot of this, but I have to poke back at Twitter.

    Shouldn't a business be on Twitter for the care aspect? Not necessarily to publish content, but to respond to current and prospective customers that post questions or complaints on Twitter?

    • 29

      Liz I agree with you on this one. (That's what I was getting at in my comment above) – I'm still confused how the twitter ROI was evaluated in this article.

  12. 30

    Thanks! I learned so much from your blog!!!!

    For someone who's co-ordinating a social project that hopefully will be an NGO sooner rather than later, it's clear that we don't need to be on social media… Albeit we do get decent (imho) engagement despite the less than 500 likes on fb. We are nevertheless on it to reserve our place in the sun, so to speak. And thought that since we're already there, we spray and pray, as you have correctly put it.

    As co-ordinator, am also wearing the social media manager. Ha! I've tried the inform, entertain, care and put into practice whatever tips I've read from the social media marketing experts bearing in mind who we are.

    Five years on, it's been only this last year and a half that I'm getting some results. The posts that got the most engagement, likes or what have you sometimes leave me scratching my head. So am still not sure what works.

    Having said that, I'll keep this gem of a blog. When the project grows, then those metrics would definitely become very useful. :)

  13. 31

    For a while there were a number of social media marketing "gurus" who were touting apps that automatically favorited posts with whatever keywords that you selected. Since then I've completely discounted favorites as an applause metric.

    I can't find any of those apps now, so maybe Twitter blocked them all and hence we can use Applause Rate.

  14. 32

    Incredible article. I might print it and give copies of it to a LOT of people I know in the industry (actually it might be better to share a link).

    I completely agree with what you are saying but I have one observation that I've found is relevant:

    Scale, or size of the business, matters a lot.

    I know a few SMB here in Mexico that are absolutely crushing it in social with tangible business results. All the examples you showed are on a relatively large scale and that is fine. My only reservation is that on smaller scales the rules might be a little different, although your Success Metrics tend to normalize the results and show a more objective view of things. However it would be interesting to drop down the scale and see if this holds true. I actually will try to do so myself and verify my impressions.

    Thanks for an excellent piece of information!!

    • 33

      Angel: Regardless of business size, if the success metrics show that it is working for you, if your social strategy passes the MoR test, I strongly recommend sticking with it.

      I want to share that the reason I've used large companies in this post is that I don't like picking on small ones. The Big Boys and Girls can take critique, and they likely don't even care about a little person like me. Hence, a lot of the sub-optimal examples in this post are big companies. There is no implication, in the choice of examples that it works for small or does not work for small. :)


  15. 34
    Klaus Colding says

    Solid post. Thank you very much.

    For someone who works with data driven marketing but not directly with social media this gives me a strong foundation for asking the right question to the often face palming social media initiatives that i see my clients doing with their agencies.

  16. 35

    This post should be a book!

    I have shared this with a friend, and downloaded it so I can digest it thoroughly.

    Thank you.

  17. 36

    This was a very interesting post – and reinforced some thoughts I've had for some time.

    It did leave me wondering though, why you didn't cover LinkedIn? Possibly one of the few social channels that can work for B2B.

    • 37

      Dan: I've had the good fortune of being an "Influencer" on LinkedIn, here's my page with lovely post:

      I've also experimented with some businesses for various LinkedIn strategies.

      Being there is of value from attracting job seeker perspective, but it has not been of much other value – as a business. From the perspective of the four metrics in this post, from a brand value perspective, it really did not add much. And, there were already enough social platforms that I and my businesses were on already. It was unclear what the incremental value was.

      But. I consider LinkedIn to be evolving and changing strategy. They are trying to figure out what they are and what they want to become. Hence, no coverage in my post. It's wait and watch for now, with great anticipation, I might add.

      What have you found to be its value for your B2B company?


      • 38

        Thanks for the reply, Avinash.

        I have found value in promoted posts on Twitter and LinkedIn (and LinkedIn have excellent targeting options).

        But I haven't done the analysis you suggest – but I may well do!

  18. 39

    Hi Avinash, your article came right at the time when we are reviewing our own social media strategy.

    We are a small business and as such, always pressed for time. Considering that I had difficulties to define 'valuable' content for our twitter account your article makes the decision easier to not be on twitter.

    Just one question – if you have twitter do you delete the account or remain inactive on twitter?

    Again, your article is much appreciated and always worth my time!

  19. 41

    Hi Avinash

    Thanks for this incisive article that completely nails it in terms of what businesses SHOULD be looking for, through their work on Social Media.

    We are an 8-month old startup working on Products, services & Engagement avenues for Indian Senior Citizens. A quick check on our 5-month old FB page's performance at strengthens my belief that Smartphone-using-Indian-Senior-Citizens are the new Social-Media-ROCKSTARS!

    We have 21k FB followers (almost ALL are Indians over the age of 55) & FB is the ONLY Social Media channel we're yet investing our energies in.

    Performance of, as per

    > Conversion Rate – 98.84
    > Amplification Rate – 51.03
    > Applause Rate – 663.68

    The closest "industry type" for us was e-commerce & we're totally green on ALL metrics, across India & globally (we're 6 times the Indian Conversion Rate, 3 times the Ampli Rate & almost twice the Applause Rate)

    Of course, with our 1st product (easyfone) having been just soft-launched & our website still getting stable, we haven't yet started directing FB traffic to our website YET (So Economic Value is still virgin territory for us to explore)

    While the content, questions, conversations, engagement & responses sent out are surely making a BIG impact on our FB page metrics, I think it's also that we're talking to a Customer Segment that is largely feels ignored/untargetted, and is rapidly gaining skills to make their voice heard. 90% of our engagement is from Seniors using their Smartphones to access FB. They are like young children exposed to a new toy and exploring it in its fullness… except that their innocence is backed with a lot of real-world experience.

    I'd LOVE to share a screenshot of our Metrics report with you. This is HUGELY exciting & my mind is racing with possibilities of what CAN be.

    Hope to hear back from you!


    • 42

      Jasneet: I'm so glad that during this soft-launch period you are seeing success!

      As you move towards launch, and beyond, it is likely that you'll end up with a portfolio strategy when it comes to acquisition. Then, periodically you can look across channels and continue to invest in the ones that work best.

      For now, look for other such interesting opportunities. I wrote a post today about how Messaging is going to "kill" social media. Those apps might be another way for you to get to Seniors in your part of the world! Here's the post:


  20. 43

    I am in the midst of transitioning from a lengthy career in old-media advertising production to digital marketing and analytics, and have benefited greatly from the insights shared on your blog.

    I started out life in Operations Management, which heavily relied on decision science and statistical process control to monitor performance and drive continuous improvement of operations. Digital Marketing is so attractive because it presents the opportunity to apply similar methodologies to a field formerly dominated by strong creative personalities.

    So many corporate marketing programs are driven 'top down', with the primary focus on the company's agenda to drive "brand awareness", without much consideration whether the audience will appreciate or respond to such messaging.

    Again and again I'm reminded that any campaign must begin with a clear objective, an understanding of the persona of the audience it is trying to reach, and an understanding of what content, delivered through which channels, will have the greatest value to them. The focus really needs to be bottom-up, beginning with the values of the people the brand is wanting to engage.

    Straight-forward metrics such as Amplification, Applause, and Conversion rates do a great job revealing whether a firm is more focused on its agenda, or that of its customers.

    I am reminded of the following two points from the Cluetrain Manifesto's '95 Theses', representing the voice of the customer:

    74) We are immune to advertising. Just forget it.
    75) If you want us to talk to you, tell us something. Make it something interesting for a change.

    The metrics tell the story. The question is, are they listening?

    • 44

      Nick: It is nice to meet another person with an odd route. My first serious gig out of college was Logistics! It was such fun.

      I love the quote from Cluetrain, thank you for reminding me of it.

      I'm optimistic that some do listen. Just look at the positive examples in this post, so many companies big and small. I'll admit they are in a minority, but they give me hope.

      Good luck with your digital marketing evolution!

      PS: If I could entice you to the digital analytics side, here's a post for you:

      • 45

        Yoinks! Thanks for the reply.

        Actually, I'm very interested in analytics, and just completed my first R Programming course with Johns Hopkins via Coursera (R Studio is amazing!). I just wish I'd gotten into it five years ago.

        In addition to the several MOOCs I'm working through, your blog is one of the pillars of my reeducation. Its an amazing body of work. Thank you for being so generous with your experience and insights.

  21. 46
    Anuj Ranka says
    • 47

      Anuj: You can apply the four metrics mentioned in this post, and you can figure it out easily for yourself.

      A quick scan suggests that AmR, ApR, CoR might not caue the passing of the MoR test. EcV is something only you would know, please take that into account to see if this causes the MoR test to be passed.


  22. 48
    Corte Swearingen says

    Avinash – thanks for a great post. The examples you give really hit home. So many of us simply engage as many social media channels as we can because 'everyone else seems to be doing it'.

    You should should really take all the posts in this blog and update them to publish as a stand-alone book. It would make a great digital marketing manual.

    Thanks again.

  23. 49

    Hi Avinash

    First of all, superb article! Totally worth the amount of time spent reading it.

    However, I do miss a specific point of view here. Innocent, as mentioned in the article, scores very well on all of the social success metrics. With posts that entertain, however, have nothing to do with the brand itself. So I'm wondering if Innocent is truly successful on social media when – in my opinion (not based on data) – it is not increasing its brand awareness nor its sales. They are just creating entertaining posts, while no one even knows who is behind the post.

    What is your opinion on this?

    Hope to hear back from you.


    • 50

      Nick: If, literally in this case, thousands of people interact with a brand everyday…. and that brand makes them smile, helps bring topical amazing things to you…. would you not think impressively about the brand?

      Focusing on the other person (client) rather than persistent pimping, isn't that the bedrock of incredible branding? :)

      I do not have any private data from Innocent related to sales. But, they were purchased by Coke for tons, and even if we look at their rare pimpy posts on facebook, we can see they are launching new products, new flavors, so from just that it would seem that they are being successful.

      For me, the true test of all this though, is the AmR, ApR and CoR on their rare pimpy posts! That is truly earning brand love. Notice that does not happen in all the cases we used in this post (or other brands you might see on FB!).


  24. 51
    Annie Pettit says

    "of Pintrest?"
    (Please delete this comment)

  25. 52

    Amazing. Absolutely amazing post (and you can notice that the CoR is much higher than many other posts in this blog :) )

    The MoR test is brilliant example. Sadly its 100% true…

  26. 53

    Hi Avinash,

    Very nice post as usual.. The most valuable lesson I took away from this post was the "see, think, do, care" framework. It is an effective way to look at our complicated marketing world and re-orient it from the perspective of our customers rather than just our company.


  27. 54
    Carlo Bazzo says

    Avinash, your posts are always interesting but often biased by a belief that I do not share: marketing is a science and thus measurable. Unfortunately, in the way marketers think and "measure" there is nothing scientific, perhaps no fault of their own, the fact is that human behavior is hardly measurable in an index.
    The fact is that marketers strive to invent smart metrics these days and, of course, they often do not have any scientific or experimental basis but only to prove the success of those who invented them. In this regard I recommend reading books such as "Data-Driven marketing-the metrics marketing 15 everyone should know", to get an idea of the degree of creativity which permeate the industry.
    To discuss your article the way it would deserve, I would need to write on another article (and maybe I will), here I must be very synthetic:
    1. Impressions. For me it remains a valid metric not worse than the others. I would be pleased to know what you think about TV advertising, where I suspect that nobody there would pass your MoR test.
    2. CoR. I've read dozens of your past posts and I never commented, what does that prove? I think nothing, I still enjoyed what you said and your articles have helped me create a positive vision of your brand.
    3. AmR. I read tons of content every day sharing on very rare occasions, sharing is a process influenced by too many variables to be taken seriously. It is quite obvious that a funny video will receive more shares than a technical article, whatever your audience. In fact you suggest to measure on pimpy posts, otherwise it measures you social success (at best) not sales.
    4. ApR. Maybe worse than AmR. The Likes are often signs of courtesy attributed to the event for various reasons and interests. Nobody wants to be gallant with a company.

    In essence, I suspect that the impressions are the less worse metric: at least the validation could be done experimentally by measuring the degree of correlation with other data (web analytics, lead generation, financial data, etc).

    • 55

      Carlo: I appreciate your perspective, and thank you for sharing it.

      Faith is a good thing to have. It can support crazy good and crazy bad ideas. We need both. And, not just for creativity you mention, for lots of reasons. Faith is also funny in that it does not really require any data, or reality, to sustain itself (or faith's ideas or sources).

      Here's my macro perspective: Have faith. I mean that most sincerely. But, if you are a business (for or non-profit), at some point your faith has to show business value. If you choose not to pursue validation of your faith, you are simply gambling. Every once in a while you'll win of course, but mostly you'll fail. :)

      There is no doubt some measurement is hard. A small part of it might be impossible. In my job, I do all of the easy measurement first, and then the hard measurement that will yield strategic value (I rarely spend time on hard measurement that yields tactical value – that would just be a hobby!). Usually, it turns out on behalf of my clients and employeer I'm 90 to 95% of the way there. I'm happy to leave 5% to faith. How much harm can it cause? :)

      PS: I can't resist. Impressions is a terrible metric. It drives numerous marketers to make awful decisions (on TV, Print, Web…). But, as you say, the value of impressions delivered can be measured using simple controlled experiments! We would not measure that as impressions though, it would be a cleanly defined business value.

      • 56

        Avinash, thank you for your reply. Just allow me to point some misunderstanding briefly.
        1. Counting much on faith is not in my DNA, I am an electronic engineer and we are raised with bread and measuring. Everything.
        2. And this is the point. Most marketers live in the faith that some "new super metric" will solve everything: Likes, impressions, CoR, thousands more. How do you know your metric is better than mine? How do you know your metric is, in your words, linked to any business value? Usually any data lack. Usually no explerimental data are shown that prove such a metric may be correlated to some business value. Plausibility does not suffice to measure effectively.
        3. Validation is what I seek, ok your metric is cool but how it was validated? Show me the numbers, the population of your experiments, how it was selected.

        PS your conclusion about the useless presence of B2B businesses on most social media finds me totally agreed.

  28. 57

    It's almost comical how bad Google is at Facebook, but I'm thinking it's not because they're actually bad (as in they are trying really hard, but just suck) but rather that they just aren't trying at all because they don't have to.

    Does a behemoth like Google really need to even bother with Facebook?

    • 58

      Terence: Your explanation would feel good, if only it were true. It would be fantastic if the reason they are sucking so much is because they are not trying.

      They are actually trying! Google's Marketing team has invested money in internal Googlers or external contractors/agencies to post this content every day, sometimes multiple times a day. It is at the moment a complete waste of money and time.

      Google's Marketing and Product teams are on Facebook quite likely because they are executing a checklist strategy. "Everyone is there, so we should be there." This is sad.

      PS: Not only Google, but as you'll see that the end of the Facebook section in this post… No business needs to have an organic presence on Facebook in Facebook's current iteration.

  29. 59

    Hi Avinash,

    Great post! I totally love the way we analyst think.

    However, I think twitter serves well for customer service. I'm not sure how it is in the US but in Nigeria, if someone just had a bad brand experience, or saw something funny or just wants to express that they are lying on their beds and craving junk food, they go on twitter.

    The emphasis here though is on the brand experience. Smart brands use this medium to satisfy customers before what is being said is amplified any further. Also, twitter gives an added advantage of topical content marketing (but I agree this is not for all brands). I think asides the role of the platform, the behavior of consumers in the space where the brands operate should be taken into consideration.

    But above all, the higher order bits are vital. This should be understood by brands/agencies and this will enable them figure out how best to invest in which social media channel. Sometimes the strategy lies in asking and answering the right questions, actionable insights.

    Thanks for sharing.


  30. 60

    Hi Avinash,

    Thank you for this great post.

    One thing missing though: What about media companies who need traffic to their sites? What I see a lot is they are blindly putting every piece of content they have onto their channels and it drives enough traffic so no one questions the methods. I don't see much value and it could easily be different. With organic reach on facebook dropping every day or week, they should recalibrate their content strategies to provide so much more value to their audience so their engagement stats will send facebook positive signals.

    What are your and everyone else's thoughts on this topic?

    • 61

      Carl: By media company I'm assuming you mean someone like The Guardian or New York Times or your local town newspaper/TV station. If yes…

      Twitter is certainly the champion here. A good percentage of people who are on Twitter (around 200 mil globally) love the breaking news facet of it, and use it for that purpose. It is far from clear if news entities can actually break these stories (it is usually "normal people"), or that they necessarily stand out (just look at the sources of the top stories on top of any trending topic).

      So, what does a NY Times or a Guardian bring to Twitter? Perhaps, for the subset of the 200 mil that don't want breaking (sometimes false) stories, rather want to know when an authoritative article of interest is published. For them NY Times should be on Twitter.

      Then again. Why does NY Times have to be there? If they are writing stories that are worthy, I, a loyal reader of the site, will most likely amplify it by sharing it and is it not better for the amplification to come from me?

      If you look at the AmR, CoR, ApR for media entities on Twitter, you'll see that the numbers are really poor. Perhaps they should be there because people on Twitter do like news, and media companies can start the seeding. Beyond that, there is little to zero value.

      On Facebook and other platforms, everything above is just much more worse.

      The standard rule applies: Focus on creating content worth sharing, worth talking about. If you do, your audience will bring the deluge of social traffic you want.

      I don't think the Social Media Expert/Gurus at these media entities will agree with me, :). But, hopefully they'll look at their performance and my comments will give them a pause.


      • 62

        Thank you!

        I actually meant companies who produces a lot of content in print and digital but nothin news-related. Judging by your article, a lifestyle or sports magazine i.e. should probably not invest in Twitter when they don't report news?

        I can come up with ideas on how to use different channels creatively but measuring them against your metrics I guess the efforts would fail. So I would be interested in your advice regarding the Social Media Channels you would recommend for a company … let's take GQ (as a print+digital company) or as examples.

        • 63

          Carl: They both fall in the same category as the examples I used in my earlier reply. Yes, there is some marginal value for Lifehacker to be on Twitter, but you'll notice their performance against the metrics mentioned – it is low. Most of their traffic comes from organic sharing by others!

          There is one alternative example to emulate if they want to be on Twitter. One of the large hotel chains shares articles related not just to travel, but also about how to live better, how to be more healthy, how to… many other things completely unrelated to travel. Essentially, they have become a human curation engine for the type of people who might be interested in their services. Their See audience. This strategy might be of value in your examples.


  31. 64

    Sure I think Success Metrics are important but the problem is how easy these metrics are to manipulate these days…. it takes just $5 to massively influence a posts engagement…. so if you are spending several hours crafting what content you are sharing why not spend just a few dollars to amplify it so you atleast give it a chance…

    Conversation Rate (CoR) there are two types of engagement one that is relevant and the other shown in the Google small business examples is not relevant. The relevant comments should relate to the brand or post but may not always be positive, the not relevant comments are often done for trolling, attention or for self-promotion. The not relevant comments are shown in most of the examples on the Google Small business page, you can see between the two FB pages on the post about mobile apps that they are not adding to the conversation but are careful not to stand out too much that they would be marked as spam. It's the same spammy tactic that you have to deal with in blog comments that has just moved to social media and does nothing but make your brand look disconnected and can often discourage other real users from real engagement.

    Amplification Rate (AmR) sure this metric is usually more relevant but this can be something that is often abused these days by other Facebook Pages or Google+ profiles.

    is the ratio of shares (or retweets or repins etc.) per post to overall Followers (or Page Likes). Is what you are saying so incredible and of value that I'll stamp my brand on it and forward it to everyone I know?

    Applause Rate (ApR) an example where this can be a fake signal is you are a travel brand and recently shared the post about the flight with the #BeardTwins but a doctor who fan page +1'd your post so what is the relevance to your post or your audience? These types of applause actions are done at mass scale in the hope you will then follow/circle back or +1/like some of their existing posts. The only benefit is that the Applause rate does help lift your organic reach on social platforms but if the page/follower doing the Applause does not have a relevant or real audience your reach is built up on smoke and mirrors. This metric is very easy to fake/manipulate but can also be fairly easy to spot if you bother to check. You should consider the content being shared as a like on a picture of a cute animal is easier to attract than a picture of your new office printer. You also want to again measure test and measure the content being shared and if no-one ever engages with X content but does for most other types consider stop sharing it.

    Economic Value (EcV) It seems that True Social Metrics does this in an interesting way and I've started testing how it works with real data. The EcV is ideally the main metric you are focusing on optimising around. The EcV metric is much harder to fake and this is the one that actually keeps your business making money so should be your top metric but can be much harder to get right with social media. This metric requires the correct setup of tracking using your web analytics but also using conversion pixels provided by various social media platforms to help close the loop. Also understand that the EcV of Linkedin might be completely different to a recruiter than to a dentist so this should be one metric to decide if that social media platform is right for your business.

    Why are you on social media?
    Twitter recently highlighted some data that 85% of CS interactions happen on social media, while I think that is generous towards their platform. Based on my own experience I do agree that Twitter's CS engagement number is very high compared to other social platforms, if I want to engage with a brand Twitter is the channel where I will go. A lot of companies have shut down their social media profiles because they don't know how to deal with complaints, don't like they don't have full control of the platform and sticking their head in the sand helps their Management team sleep better at night.

    So if you are on social media because that's where you customers/clients are then that's a perfect reason for you to be on social media. You don't want the conversation to be one sided with people attacking your brand and the only responses are parody accounts that do more to inflame the situation by trolling your customers. This happens far more than big brands would care to admit but some get a lot more exposure than brands would like such as Target's recent Ask ForHelp trolling incident but it seems some brands just are on social media for the attention

    MoR Test
    I think that's a brilliant idea and I'd love to put that idea forward soon with the right project… but throwing money off the roof concept would make a lot of marketing departments very uncomfortable as they would probably not have the results in a nice dashboard so would object… and most social media agencies would probably argue that it's not a fair test… but these same agencies would possibly follow up that statement with a project pitch for $5000 the agency would happy to run a test for you supported by a $10,000 media budget….

    There are plenty of examples of this type of thing done well such as the Prank if Forward videos you probably see shared heavily on Facebook… they do something along these lines and it seems to pay-off very well based on the results in terms of views, shares and engagements via comments.

    Facebook for Business?
    The big thing around this is make content interesting and relevant to your audience and a big thing is what's in it for me? Content needs to be better tailored to your audience on Facebook than previously but the biggest thing that business doesn't get is you need to do two things (Experiment + Be Timely). The issue is that the content brands share on social media is what they want to share and the message/theme they want to control over which is why it often fails.

    The other issue is that you have to accept that Facebook's organic reach has been adjusted so that if you are not sharing content that is amazing or amplified by paid media it will continue to fall flat. The other issue facing brands is how they attracted those likes in the first place… often they forced fans to like their pages in order to enter competitions, bought cheap likes or pushed fans from all their channels to like them on Facebook. Great so you built an audience but these fans don't really want to engage with you know as what you are sharing is no longer relevant so instead of un-liking you they can now easily just hide you from their news feed.

    The engagement examples highlighted like Innocent take a step away from the traditional marketing pushes they don't remind you daily why you should buy their brand but their shares align well with their brand being a little naughty and playful which is why it works. Fluke does it well because they offer tips on how to make your job easier…. they solve the answer what's in it for me?

    Paid Promotion?
    Yes you have to use it, I use it for my own personal FB pages and Twitter accounts I run, why rely on just organic if you can super charge it with a few dollars.

    Google+ for Business?
    Again this is a channel that is really something that you have to invest a lot of time in and well the engagement and traffic outside of a few technology and travel verticals is really hard to get right. But for creating a central place for Local listings and YouTube clips it's not a bad thing to get setup properly from the start. There are other benefits such as showing in the knowledge graph box on the right side on branded searches but it won't drive anywhere near the traffic you will need by itself, you want to consider sharing to Google+ as you would with other channels and don't forget to tag relevant pages or brands in your posts to lift reach.

    Pinterest for Business?
    I've had a bit of a play around with this and had some success but it's really something that takes a decent amount of investment to get right. There are some smart marketers like Rae Hoffman who have taken some time to create some strategies around it which might be interesting (paid case study).

    Twitter for Business?
    This is one that I really believe can work quite well even if it's just for the CS channels of being available, but make sure you are responsive and consider sharing content regularly and sometimes more than once so your followers don't forget you as content will quickly drop off your followers news feeds. The other issue where brands fail on Twitter is they choose not to engage with Tweets they still use it as a one way broadcast platform. They also sometimes miss the mark completely by sharing links to their Facebook posts or encouraging followers to move the conversation to another platform (often Facebook) which doesn't really suit your Twitter audience who wants to engage with you there.

    Valid reasons to be on social media?
    Your customers/clients are on there…
    You can grow your brand/reach and attract new customers/clients…
    Your competitors are active on there… shows there is some potential
    Your competitors are not active on there… first mover advantage can work
    You have resources available… don't do it unless you are willing to commit

    • 65

      David: I appreciate the thoughtful comment, I'm confident it is of immense value to all the readers of the blog. Thank you.

      Think of the four as providing balance, it is futile to obsess about just one or two. For example, if you simply buy lots of likes or retweets then it won't take a long time to realize the there is no Economic Value so those bogus purchased likes and retweets are a waste of time. Things then correct themselves. :)

      From a business perspective (not on personal sites or even the notorious Yahoo! News and its comments), it is not that difficult for an analyst to understand if the Conversation is useful or useless. Again, not that hard to correct.

      Use the four in balance, this drives good long-term behavior and good short-term behavior. Ultimately what you want to drive is 1. Engaged owned audiences (Subscribers/Followers who comment and amplifiy) 2. Stronger brand feelings (Likelihood to Recommend) and 3. Economic Value.

      Thanks again!


  32. 66

    Great article.

    When reassessing whether a social channel is worth keeping, is there a benchmark to reference for True Social Metric numbers? I'd like to be able to confidently say that achieving 'X' ongoing is not worth a continued future investment, to help prevent the business post-rationalising 'X' as 'good'!


  33. 69
    Anand Mishra says

    Hi Avinash Kaushik!

    This is a fantastic post. I can see immediate application of this advice in our practice.

    Thanks on behalf of all your readers for this valuable information that you provide for free. It is rare in this day and age to have a blog be this useful.

  34. 70

    Thanks Avinash, found this article more useful than a bunch of best seller Italian books on social media for biz.

    I'd like to translate (even partially) on my blog (it has a good readership on topic): Could I?



  35. 71

    Hi Avinash,

    First time here, and wow… what a post. I've been working as a social media consultant for the past 8 years, and have been getting really sick of it recently. The numbers just don't stack up, I see so many brands importing their broadcast approaches from TV and advertising into the media and I've been trying to figure out where it all fits now. As Marshall Mcluhan said, "We go into the future looking in the rear view mirror".

    Your post has really helped me place social in the context of a bigger digital mix. I love your metrics, and I hope you don't mind if I use your MoR test – it's brilliant.

    I think that brands can find value in social, but it takes a LOT more imagination and talent than most are prepared to throw at it right now. It means really understanding the genius, the soul of the brand, and the value they can offer audiences at the right stages of their journeys… You've given some great examples here. They are few and far between, but when they get it right, it can be genius. I think you've got this spot on.

    Thank you so much for making me a smarter social media guy!

    Tom :)

  36. 72

    Thanks Avinash g for this amazing piece on Social Media.

    Social media is a hard rock to break and I never get the desired results from Social Media but you have explained step by step that how to collect juice from social media. I feel I can get more from Social Media now with a new approach.

    Thanks Avinash again.


  37. 73

    Hi Avinash,

    Nice to finally see someone who agrees with me on the use of Social Media in BtB. I wrote a similar article a few months back (not nearly as detailed or well argued as yours, though), where I conclude that Social Media is a waste of time for most BtB companies.

    I received a lot of feedback – unsurprisingly, primarily from people who work with Social Media – and while most disagreed with me, very few could come up with (in my opinion) convincing arguments as to why I was wrong.

    In reality, I think a lot comes down to a confusion as to what Social Media really is. In my opinion, many people confuse Social Media Marketing with Content Marketing or even Digital Marketing.

    It seems that if you ask 30 people to define those three marketing disciplines, you will get 30 different answers.

    Do you see the same thing?

    My article can be found on my blog @


  38. 75

    These articles you write are amazing. Long-reads and alot of info in them. I really like it.

    To be on topic: Social media only works if you have people working on all networks. If you update your twitter, but fail with Facebook it's not gonna work. And the other way around as well.

    Best would be to focus on your own websites and use these networks as a bullhorn, not as a core location.

  39. 76

    That's a fantastic post on Social Media. As social media is the best platform for business promotion. A businessman can turn their local business into brand with the help of social media. I learned much about social media through this post. This information will be much helpful for me is future.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful information with us.

  40. 77

    Unfortunately many of us know what not to do with social media and business because we lived through making all the mistakes.

    I think the biggest mistake a business can make is thinking there is more value in social media interaction than there really is.

    Don't get me wrong, it is important, but I think in the coming year we will hear about plenty of successful companies that have no social media strategy because they are just operating their business well.

  41. 78
    Prakash Bajpai says


    Very interesting read for someone like me just starting his Digital Marketing journey. I will just share with you that your comments about GALCO content interested me. I thought to pass on this content as a possible good reference media for my son, student of Electrical Eng. at India.

    Imagine my surprise when my son coolly told me that he already knows GALCO through watching their videos . To best of my knowledge GALCO neither has no business presence in India and does not advertise on any other channel in this country.

  42. 79
    Kumar Sankalp says

    Hi Avinash,

    Really, it's a nice article.

    For next topic, can you share your ideas about GTM (Google Tag Manager) in briefly?

  43. 81

    What a very interesting and entertaining take on the matter.

    Most businesses tend to fail on their social media marketing efforts so it's great to have posts like this that help struggling brands and businesses in righting how they do SMM.

  44. 82
    shashidhar says

    I would like to thank you for the information on your blog, its interesting and engaging.

    I have question regarding the location-based targeting in facebook is it possible to promote a restaurant to the people who live within 2km radius of that restaurant?

    I got to know that this feature of targeting works well in the US but in India it is a problem so I wanted to know your opinion before starting a campaign.

  45. 84

    Is it really worth spending on Facebook ads for internet based businesses?

    I have seen Facebook working only for businesses like eCommerce.

    • 85

      Arihant: As the Facebook section of this post outlines, if your company has See and Care content then targeting those two intent clusters via Facebook advertising is an effective strategy for any type of business.

      I would further share that it is going to be more effective for businesses (including e-commerce) that are not obsessed with driving conversions off Facebook as that would be targeting the Do intent cluster – which does not really exist on Facebook.


  46. 86

    What a treasure trove of information on different social media platforms/businesses.

    I especially like how you gave examples of different businesses who are doing it well vs. not.


  47. 87
    Rahul Dixit says

    Hi Avinash,

    Thanks for composing such a great article. :-)

    It is refreshing to get practical and real advice on a topic that seems to have a lot of confusion around it.

  48. 88
    somnath banerjee says

    Nice representation with examples that makes every details quite clear.

    I am very much interested in Twitter to spread my services, but being a novice I am stumbling each and every steps. Your post will certainly give me enough boost up to continue my journey at Twitter. If you have any more tips and tricks regarding Twitter that certainly you have, please share with me (you have my mail id) and no need to say I will be obliged.

    Thanks in advance.

  49. 89

    Nice post…

    It is rare to get such specific guidance in blogs these days. Thank you.

  50. 90

    Avinash, a first-time reader here, IDK how I missed your blog. A lot of value in here.

    With all the hype in the space about social, you've illuminated both what is positive and what to avoid. This will have a big influence on the strategy of our company.

  51. 91

    Another great post Avinash.

    I personally totally agree on your YouTube examples. I produced my share of YT videos (as an agency) over the last couple of years and more than once I did question the impact that they will have (and later on they stuck at 123 views with a 30k production budget). As you stated sometimes just seeding the videos as an ad is enough to fulfill "the channel checklist". There are very few marketers out there (the bigger the company the worse it gets) that really embrace the possibilities of social media.

    We did work with the STDC framework here at times because the "See" part at least starts a thinking process about the possible audience and content that does resonate with this audience.


  52. 92
    David Woodbeck says

    Another brilliant post, threading together a combination of frameworks, measurement, and the scarcest of skills: common sense.

    I'm going to focus on your FB example to make my comment/question:

    – I agree that posting content (without paid boosters) is a fools errand, but ignoring that for a moment.
    – The thing you left out of your measurements was economic value.
    – So let's say Fluke is doing a good job of entertainment and utility, scarcely trying to sell.
    – They can rely on their marketing intuition that providing entertainment and utility (i.e. education) will increase their probability of selling when the time comes.
    – They can tried a controlled experiment.
    – They can try a research / survey approach to try and determine purchase intent or brand affinity and align that to their business model to derive economic value.

    Are those the approaches you would recommend or what method would you use to prove economic value in the social channel for those brave enough to want to put actual content up there (versus advertising)?

    • 93

      David: I would recommend that Fluke measure the primary metrics: Conversation Rate, Amplification Rate, Applause Rate. For content that falls in the See-Think intent clusters, that is the best way to measure success (as you post). Additionally you can use Economic Value to measure longer term success, Fluke would figure out what they are trying to do and use one of these, or all of these, strategies to measure economic value:

      ~ Excellent Analytics Tips #19: Identify Website Goal [Economic] Values

      You are absolutely right that measuring longer term qualitative metrics impact is also a good idea… Likelihood To Recommend, Likelihood to Buy etc. If you can identify your FB audience, you can certainly measure this using surveys.

      For additional brand metrics, please see this post:

      ~ Brand Measurement: Analytics & Metrics for Branding Campaigns

      It breaks things down into purpose of your strategy, we would work with Fluke to figure that out for their FB strategy and measure the appropriate metric from the list.


  53. 94

    Absolutely true!

    Using social media is an effective way of engaging and be known to the public.

    You need an appreciation for this area as this expanding media field is full of prime marketing opportunities, and having a Social Media Plan managed by experts in SEO and online visibility will have you set above the rest.

  54. 95

    Hi Avinash!

    Thank you for this great article. I've recently discovered your blog and can't believe how your 2007 year's posts are still very much relevant and how you are able to stay on top of things for the whole decade!

    Do you have anything to say about 'social selling'? I've come across this article ( about IBM which invested in social selling infrastructure and training for one of their sales teams. Basically, they encouraged the sales reps to promote themselves as experts on social in various fields, to participate in social discussions and to use the content library provided by marketing to support their activity. And even managed to measure some positive ROI.

    I wonder:
    1. How successful such strategies might be and who else did/does that?
    2. Which industries/niches this might be best suitable for?
    3. Any other insights that you could share about the 'social selling' in general and the IBM's take in particular?

    Really appreciate your feedback!


    • 96

      Artur: "Social Selling" is an oxymoron. You don't even need me to tell you that, read the last bit of the article you shared. Quoting… "Even if he can't point of hard ROI…" "During one pilot project…" "10 orders…." "Granted the offer was free and it is never hard to sell free…." #omg

      Thought provoking exercise: Go to any IBM channel on any social platform… can you feel even an iota of humanity? So. What's so social about what IBM is doing? Just another place to pimp?

      Here's the bottom-line: People on social media most frequently express See and Care intent. Sometimes, only on rare occasions they express Think intent. Selling is Do intent. If you solve for Do intent on See-Care platforms, broadly speaking you will suck. :)

      If it is in your DNA, use Social for the intent that is there, See-Care. If you don't, there are 15 other ways we can make tons of money for our employers!


      PS: In case you have not seen it, here's the See-Think-Do-Care business framework.

  55. 97

    Nice article. I think the approach for social can't be generalized and each business needs to figure out what works for them.

  56. 98
    Pawan Kumar says

    Hello Avinash,

    I am a regular reader of your articles. And Believe my words I've never read this kind of useful stuff on social media marketing for businesses. This is an Epic guide for marketers and business owners.

    You successfully taught us, "How to use different social media channels for business." Congrats :)

    Thanks for sharing this kind of gold stuff. Have a nice day!


  57. 99
    Shamaila Zahid says

    LOL @ the title of this post.

    But on a serious note, great post! You covered so many tips and advice that so many people fail to use.

    Thanks for sharing!

  58. 100

    Catchy Title: Check! Great Content: Check! This indeed is such an informative post.

    The tips you have provided are real time doable and effective.

    It never is just plain and simple when it comes to content marketing and social media combined!

  59. 101

    Hi Avinash

    Nice post.


    PS:the link "….It is not that hard. See Lesson One and Two on proving Causality. The causal impact …" is wrong

  60. 103
    Venkat says

    This is really a great source, thank you Avinash.

    The complex part is measuring social media ROI in financial factors. You've given some pointers here that will be very helpful in that quest.

  61. 104

    Thanks for being a voice of sanity. Everyone else seems constantly crow about Social Media dragging businesses small and big into projects that produce little value.

    We have significantly more engagement and conversions from our email and YouTube channels. We continue to experiment with Facebook advertising. It works for a small number of clients we have.

  62. 105
    Fiona Rhymes says

    This is such a breath of fresh air.

    I am a university student. In our campus there is a lot of emphasis on Social Media as being the marketing of the future and every industry thought leader who comes to speak spends a lot of time on Social. Yet neither is looking at performance or value using the lens that you are applying.

    After discussing with my professor your article is now required reading for Marketing students.

  63. 106
    Alison Morrison says

    Hi Avinash,

    This post is excellent and really solved many problems I'd been facing when trying to provide my clients with insightful, actionable metrics. What you have considered here is the context, which is so often forgotten and so I really appreciate that.

    However I do have one major concern, due to the fact that I am reading this in 2017, a few years after it was written – and my thought is can this logic still be applied? Many others seem to think so as they are sharing your post still, I came here from Hootsuite's article posted 1 year ago, but I am still unsure. Let me tell you why.

    1. When calculating the comments, like and shares of a post we are not simply counting those of our followers but also those who the post reached but aren't our followers yet. So to create an average of any of these and divide them by the number of followers is not representative of the conversation volume, amplification, applause etc. of your specific audience, but everyone who happened to see you posts in that reporting period.
    2. We also now know that only 2-5% of your followers get shown the posts you've created when it come to just using organic only. So is it appropriate to divide all the figures by the total number of fans when the vast majority were never shown the post in the first place?

    I suppose my question is to the relevance/accuracy of using the number of fans in these metrics to determine a ratio? Could you further explain the thinking behind that in light of the current situation in social concerning organic reach?

    I hope that this makes sense!

    Thanks so much for your time,
    Alison Morrison

  64. 108

    Thanks for sharing this amazing long descriptive article on Social Media marketing! Hope to see more stuff…


  65. 109

    Worth the read even a couple of years later.

  66. 110

    Very briefly explained.

    Really appreciate for hard work.


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    Recently, Avinash Kaushik offered a pointed criticism of social media marketing: Many companies fail at posting original content on the largest social platforms. He therefore suggests the "Money off the Roof“ test: You take the money that has been budgeted for social media marketing and simply throw it from the roof of the company building in small bills. Passersby will notice the raining money and will film it with their smartphones and post the recording. And if these posts generate more attention than the social media marketing that's been used in the past, you should always throw the money from the roof.

  22. […]
    Avinash Kaushik, an analytics evangelist who emphasizes the importance of performance assessment, has further differentiated "interactions with fans" to map the various aspects. He uses likes, shares and comments on Facebook to achieve this. Comments are especially valuable, and demonstrate more than just high user involvement. They also tell us something about the user's attitude to the business itself, or at least that particular post. The frequency of comments is measured as

  23. […]
    Three of our MOST favourite blogs from Avinash Kaushik’s Occam’s Razor blog are
    Excellent Analytics Tip #27: Chase Smart Calculated Metrics!
    How to Suck at Social Media: An Indispensable Guide for Businesses
    See, Think, Do, Care Winning Combo: Content + Marketing + Measurement!
    Avinash has dozens of detailed posts on every aspect of web analytics and digital marketing. The blogs cover qualitative analysis, competitive intelligence analysis, analytics tips, web metrics and more.

  24. […]
    Coined by Avinash Kaushik, author and digital marketing evangelist at Google, amplification is “the rate at which your followers take your content and share it through their networks.” Basically, the higher your amplification rate, the more willing your followers are to associate themselves with your brand.

  25. […]
    This is a metric coined by Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik. He explains that it is a ratio of comments per post (or video or tweet or pin etc.) to overall Followers (or Page Likes). Tracking your conversation rate will help uncover how much of your followers are compelled to add their voice to the content you post.

  26. […]
    Avinash Kaushik, an analytics evangelist who emphasizes the importance of performance assessment, has further differentiated "interactions with fans" to map the various aspects. He uses likes, shares and comments on Facebook to achieve this. Comments are especially valuable, and demonstrate more than just high user involvement. They also tell us something about the user's attitude to the business itself, or at least that particular post. The frequency of comments is measured as

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