Social Media: It’s About Engagement, Not Page Views

Categories Tech Life

“I use the word engagement as the new metric, as opposed to viewing.”

Albie Hecht, CEO of Worldwide Biggies Company, a digital entertainment studio that creates content for young adults (think Naked Brothers Band on Nickelodeon), is quoted as saying the above in the new book, Googled: The End of the World as We Know It, by Ken Auletta.

For months now I’ve been struggling with social media. No, not how to use it or how to derive value from it but how to measure it.

Simply gunning for more followers or page views or click-throughs wasn’t cutting it for me as this type of measurement is based on the old rules of passive viewing of traditional media (reading print ads, watching TV, listening to the radio).

I’ve been asking myself, “how do I measure the value of social media and how do I show this value to my clients dynamically as opposed to presenting meaningless numbers in flat reports?”

I mean, really, just what does “one thousand Twitter followers” mean to anyone and are these 1,000 followers any better than 100 followers?

Some days it seems that social media, with its emphasis on numbers of followers and friends and RTs and page views, is just high school all over again.

Hecht, however, nails it. In the same conversation in which he’s quoted, he talks about the Web as a platform where people can tell their own stories. He goes on to say:

“If we can move someone so they love this character, and they’re moved through a story, and they’re playing a game, and they’re collecting objects in that, and at the end of this experience they have created their own video of this experience, we’ll have moved them into a different type of storytelling.

Brilliant.

Throughout the Googled book, the point is hammered home repeatedly that we, the people, are now in control of the story. As David Meerman Scott has repeatedly said, companies no longer control their stories (i.e. messages), we the people are doing for them via social media.

What does this mean for marketers?

It means that instead of coming up with new stories and devising campaigns around them, marketers (myself included) need to figure out how to compel people to interact with our companies / products / services and then tell their stories about this interaction.

Waters Corporation figured this out with their Customer Testimonial video campaign, to name just one example.

Engagement versus page views is a new way of thinking about marketing, one that requires a complete mind shift. But I really believe that if you want to bring value to your clients or your company, it’s a shift you have to make — like now.

Do you agree or disagree?

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