But the suggested measurement methodology of Jim Tobin (founder and president of Ignite Social Media, a social media marketing agency in Cary) – assuming the reporter is being accurate – is beyond the gates of the Castle Augh.
For years, the publicity industry has been chastised (appropriately so) for trying to demonstrate the value of media coverage through the use of a ridiculous “ad equivalency” model. And yet, here we are suggesting that this is a good model for social media? Are you kidding me?
“We can calculate the number of impressions that our organic efforts, such as our updates, have generated,” Tobin said. “And we can put a value on them by multiplying by the common cost per thousand impressions.”
Apparently you are not kidding me. Apparently you think this is a good way to assign a value to social media exposure. In the words of King Arthur, “Whoa there!” This is a silly idea that assumes you are comparing apples to apples – and you are not. An online media buy (whether a text ad or display ad or a simple word link) is not equivalent to “content”, whether it is a blog post or a Facebook exchange or a Twitter post or an image pin comment.
But forget all that. Companies (most, if not all) are not looking for “valuation.” They want to understand how social media contributes to sales. They want to understand the entire process – how does it create and build brand awareness, motivate discovery and exploration, nurture engagement, develop relationships, achieve conversion, and establish and maintain brand loyalty?
And they especially want to know about conversion. They want to know what amount or percentage of sales can be directly attributed to social media. It is a noble quest that should be taken seriously, not insulted with ad equivalency suggestions.