Wow. Talk about a HOT topic. OK, so maybe not in your universe, but off in the Twitter-centric zone that I've been operating amid for the past couple of years the concept of measurement of marketing within the Social Media sphere is huge, with many agencies (several of which have been repeatedly subjected to my resume) strongly focused on this. Needless to say, Jim Sterne's Social Media Metrics: How to Measure and Optimize your Marketing Investment is likely to cause quite a stir. This is another book in Wiley's “The New Rules of Social Media” series, which (like Get Seen, reviewed here previously) are volumes intended as textbooks for various aspects of the Social Media milieu. Of course, for the benefit of the FTC, I need to note that this was a review copy sent to me by Wiley ... however, I'm certainly glad they did, as this was a most fascinating read, and I would have been fairly unlikely to have picked this up as a “freerange” purchase.
This brings me to two things I should probably note about this book, it is somewhat textbook-like in its presentation, and it is very much a business book. It is not a light read and it really isn't for anybody who is uninvolved with the commerce of the new social internet. The author targets “the big three goals”: 1 – increase revenue, 2 – lower costs, and 3 – improve customer satisfaction … and he returns to these as touchstones throughout the book. As far as structure is concerned, the book is in nine chapters, each dealing with a particular aspect of the business use of Social Media: Getting Focused – Identifying Goals, Getting Attention – Reaching Your Audience, Getting Respect – Identifying Influence, Getting Emotional – Recognizing the Sentiment, Getting Response – Triggering Action, Getting the Message – Hearing the Conversation, Getting Results – Driving Business Outcomes, Getting Buy-in – Convincing Your Colleagues, and Getting Ahead – Seeing the Future.
Much like the previous book in this series that I've read, Social Media Metrics just screams to be an e-book, as it is chock-full of web material, either presented as screen captures or URLs. As much of a fan as I am of the “dead tree” model of data transfer, there were dozens of times while reading this that I wished I could click on the page and be whisked off to the material being referenced. Unfortunately, lacking this ability, I have a forest of small paper bookmarks rising out of the book, awaiting a few hours of leisure to manually make the transfer from ink-on-paper to the Internet!
As one can surmise from the progression of chapter headings above, this walks the reader from almost point zero (one would doubt that a total net newbie would pick up this book, and the author clearly shares this perception), with a definition of what Social Media is and in what forms it currently presents itself, through a very interesting list of “100 Ways to Measure Social Media”, and into the various steps, from Awareness to Engagement to Persuasion to Conversion to Retention, which are necessary for achieving one's business' goals.
The author is also very clear that this is a “snapshot” in time … referring to things that happened in the 90's as “last century”, and being very direct that his examples are what's happening now amid an unending state of flux as new technologies, new players, new approaches, new realities all bubble up to the surface. That said, there are dozens of remarkably useful examples provided here, companies, programs, web resources, etc., etc., etc. that would provide the businessperson eager to forge a Social Media strategy with all the tools currently at hand for the purpose. Extremely useful is the “Resources” appendix which collects together (via URL and description) a wide range of papers and studies from major universities and cutting-edge marketing groups such as Zocalo, Razorfish, and Ogilvy's 360°.
I have already recommended Social Media Metrics to several folks involved in this area (and told some Twitter folks that I'd seen them “name-checked” in here!), and that certainly goes for anyone reading this review. If you're looking to move beyond Social Media as Social Media and into the Business aspects of that market, this is definitely a book that you will want to check out. Again, this is a business book for business people, and is a textbook, not a “popular discussion”, but if you're in the intended audience, you will get great benefit from picking this up.
As this is brand-new (it's officially been out for less than a month at this point), it should be available via your local brick-and-mortar book vendor (although, with this narrow a focus it might not be everywhere), but at the moment Amazon has it at a rather remarkable 45% off of cover, which is a hard deal to pass up ... if you're in "the Social Media business", this is something you're going to want to have at hand!