I love metrics that have meaning – not just counting, but stats and figures that actually demonstrate business value. The measure I love best in social media is ROI (and yes, Virginia, there is a social media ROI – so much so that we recently executed a campaign for a client that allowed us to connect a Facebook “like” to a sale. We’ll be sharing this case study at conferences starting next year. Watch this space for more details).
But I digress.
The title of this blog post refers to an experience I had this week at the Pivot Conference in New York City. Hosted by the affable and talented Brian Solis, this was a two-day event that featured an amazing lineup of speakers. On day two, it was my job to summarize the themes discussed in a short, five-minute presentation, given pretty much off-the-cuff. I was also following in the footsteps of the fantastic Martin Nisenholtz, who’d done the same job to great acclaim on Day One (no pressure!) The day started with several speakers, Brian among them, stating that engagement was the new metric.
My first thought was, “Seriously? Weren’t we having this discussion in 2007? Aren’t we past this?”
A few sessions later, I had a sort of epiphany. Engagement is actually a critical metric – but it’s not a measure that gets you to ROI; rather, it’s an indicator of your overall brand health – like a pulse. It indicates the health of the ecosystem that surrounds your brand and your business. It shows that the stuff you’re making (content, experience, product, whatever) is relevant, and therefore findable, in the marketplace. More on this in a minute.
The second theme that popped up like a whack-a-mole (and me with no mallet handy) was content. As in, you need good content. Again, I thought, “Really?? Who does not know this?” Of course, the fact that “content is king!” is a worn-out trope doesn’t mean it’s not true, and it’s also a massive challenge. In one of my favorite quotes, Ron Faris from Virgin Mobile noted that, “If we had a dude we could throw from the edge of space to get people to know about our salsa, of course we would do that!” The reality is that brands can’t make all of the content they need themselves – and this is the point at which the final theme pulled it all together for me:
Ecosystem. Where you talk to your people (customers, prospects, partners, employees, anyone who touches your business) and, most importantly, where they talk to each other, and, if facilitated (not owned) properly by the brand, where scale can be brought to content. All of this connects as follows:
If you have no engagement, you have no pulse. If you have no pulse, you have no network and no way to scale. If you have no network and no scale, you are not findable. If you’re not findable, you are not relevant.
This is what I got out of Pivotcon Day Two, and why I’ve (very surprisingly, especially to myself) come back around to the notion that engagement is actually a very important business health metric. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments.