Category: Data

Measuring social media is hard. But not impossible

Measuring social media is hard.  Extremely hard.  Everyone will tell you a new and different way that they quantify success.

The challenge becomes harder still when you try reporting these measures to recruitment directors who still struggle with digital communication in the 21st century.  Some of the fastest growing, best known and most successful recruitment businesses are run by people who years ago were recruitment consultants themselves.  As they move up the ranks and proceed to move further away from the coalface of recruitment and making cold calls they continue to look back on the process fondly.  Measures for these people are based on activity and direct outcomes.  How many calls did you make today?  How many jobs did you pick up?  How many CVs have you sent?  How many first interviews are arranged?  How many placements have you made?

When I was in recruitment I had a daily target called my “2x2x2”.  Two jobs picked up.  Two new candidates seen face to face.  Two interviews arranged.  If you did that; you would be successful.

Measuring social media is slightly different.  The outbound activity in social media doesn’t have to result in a business action directly through the same post, person or even channel.  The way in which we measure social and digital interactions impacts how companies buy and invest in solutions.  Only 36% of finance executives agree that the metrics they use to assess technology investments are commonly understood across the company according to Capgemini.

With my 2x2x2 KPIs, my output was being measured – and so too where the results that followed.  If the placements didn’t come it showed that something was falling down somewhere along the chain.  When thinking about social media there are so many potential business outcomes that feed into so many places and the impact can and affect many different people that it becomes harder to measure.  But not impossible.

The way I look at measuring social media is as follows:
Views – Actions – Business outcomes.views actions business

Views: How many people have seen us?

Views are the number of times that your content, updates or brand has been seen.  You can track this across most social channels.  In the last year Twitter has made substantial updates to its reporting platform to help advertisers and individuals better understand their reach.  On LinkedIn it is possible to track both the views from personal status updates as well as from company status updates.  From company updates you can see impressions, clicks, and interactions.  Facebook has a similar tool for Pages.

Actions: How many people have interacted with us?

Actions should include things such as social interactions – the number of clicks, Likes, Shares, Comments, Favourites and Retweets.  This helps you to understand if the message you push out resonates with your audience.  If you divide the actions by the number of impressions you can calculate a percentage of people interacting with you.  On LinkedIn and on Twitter we call these an Engagement Score and you should be aiming a score of 1%+.
Twitter analytics
Business Outcomes: How many people have given us something to start making money from?

Business outcomes are harder to measure on social.  This is where you require tracking set up on your own website to understand what visitors do when they get to your business and where they originally came from.

Using things such as UTM codes you are able to track people from social media, content, email, advertising etc. and understand how these individuals use your website and what they do.  By eventually linking back each application, job spec and internal applicant to the source of origin paints a picture as to what has been successful.
Google Analytics
As your business starts to drive up awareness across multiple channels and your marketing becomes more layered, intricate and possibly complicated it becomes harder to establish what has influenced the eventual conversion.  Was this candidate Following up on LinkedIn before clicking on a link from Twitter and then applying?

Many social media monitoring businesses such as Radian6 and Adobe’s insight tools are demonstrating how each platform and channel impacts your business’ marketing funnel.  Google has a section in its analytics called Attribution (you will need to have your Webmaster Tools and Analytics set up correctly to use this.  Find it under the Conversions tab).

attribution modelling
I highly recommend looking at the data in detail to see if you can spot trends, but also seeing what your gut feel is.  If you can sense that a channel is a key influencer then you can establish if your strategy helps to drive up applications across all channels.

From tomorrow start to report on the key metrics that you can influence as a marketer.  Look at the number of views, the actions and finally set up correct tracking to link business outcomes back to each channel.

Recruiting like an analyst

Listening to a financial analyst talk about investors’ interest in TAM made me think that recruiters need to act like analysts.

TAM stands for Total Addressable Market.  This is a measure to understand the market share you have and how much potential there is for your current service or product offering.  Investors want to guarantee returns and will invest if you aren’t already selling everything you have to everyone who is interested.

In recruitment I would look at TAM in the opposite way.  The bigger your market share of candidates the better opportunity you have of placing the right people.  Investors will also want to know how much potential for growth there is in the TAM for clients.

These figures should interest four types of people:
Your clients
Clients want to know how many people you have on your database, within your network and in your talent-pools that you can call upon.

Your candidates
Candidates want to know that you understand them, their market and that you have the best connections with the clients in that sector.

Prospective consultants
Demonstrating a good share of the TAM is today’s equivalent of the “warm desk”.  Quantifying that you have the biggest talent pool of Xyz professionals in your geographies is a great way to get people to want to work for you.

Investors / buyers
As the economy bounces back more and more acquisitions of recruitment companies are taking place across Europe.  Recruitment businesses get bought and sold based on the value of their people, their network, their contractor book, but also their market penetration and ability to connect scarce skills with client opportunities.


By quantifying your market you can begin to structure how you sell and what you spend your time doing.  In markets where jobs are slim, but there are a lot of supply of candidates obviously you would re-adress your recruitment activities to focus on finding jobs.

Supply and Demand of talent

On the flip side where the balance is skewed the other way you would focus your time on growing your network and talent pools of scarce skills.

Supply and Demand of Talent

Quantifying your market place helps you to better negotiate recruitment fees.  Knowing how many ideal candidates there are means you can quote fees that you know your efforts are worth.  In scarce skills markets it is a seller’s market.  With quantifiable data you can qualify your demand as opposed to plucking numbers out of the air.

To help you understand some of your markets and quantify the talent landscape you will need to do some real research, so I recommend starting by using these resources:

LinkedIn Talent Pool Analysis


Once you have collated the data regarding your target audience you can analyse some of the following things:
  1. How many contacts in your database are within this market?
  2. How many contacts in your database within this market have been contacted in the last 6 months?
  3. How many recruiters do you have working on that market and how many calls/emails are they sending daily?
  4. What is your website traffic from affiliated search terms or to specific pages on your website?
  5. How many connections do they have on LinkedIn who are relevant?
  6. How many Followers on LinkedIn does your company have that are relevant?

These six data points will start to paint a picture as to how much of your TAM you actually have.

Your total addressable market

Your market share in this instance is 0.5%

Knowing that some of the people connected to your employees on LinkedIn, Followers of your business and on your database will be the same it is important to establish a communication strategy across these channels.

In addition to this it is essential to make a plan to increase the percentage of your TAM over time.  This may mean finding a way of getting more hits to your website through producing more content, sponsoring content, focusing on search engine optimisation or Google Ad Words, getting more Followers on LinkedIn through targeted advertising campaigns or getting your recruiters to connect with more people.


How do you get better penetration of your relevant TAM?

Whatever your tactics are to grow your penetration – SEO, PPC, advertising, etc. – you need to follow these three steps to make sure that you are making the most of your activities.

“Fish where the fish are”.
Understand the places where these people are hanging out online.  This sounds basic but it is so often forgotten.  Don’t think what would be easiest or best for you, think what is best for your target audience.

Give them something they want.
Once you have found these people you need to be able to communicate in a way that means something to them.  Establish the type of information you can produce or share to pique their interest.  Embed your business’ message and core values into the content that you produce so that your audience is building up a preference for your recruitment agency in their mind.  Reach outside of your existing network by advertising or sponsoring content.

Make them convert.
You have found where these people are, you’ve given them something and made them aware and interested in you… now you need to make it count!  Convert them.  Unless you can get their details all you have are ethereal visitors.  Profiles, contact details and CVs are what we are aiming for.  If you are trying to convert passive people then don’t expect a CV in the first instance, but do create a list of acceptable outcomes that you would want to happen.  This list might include things like: obtain email address, phone number, make a Follower with a view to converting them at a later stage, sign up to email newsletter, job application, registration, etc.  Once you have your new Followers, connections or your database has grown you can reassess your TAM again.  This should be an ongoing process and done again at regular intervals.


Knowledge is power.  Understanding your total addressable market gives you the power and confidence to better advise your clients, establish how you should be charging and take stock of your current ability to make placements.  Analyse what you have and what you need to be better at what you want to do.

For some more ideas watch this video: Moneyball for Talent Acquisition, from LinkedIn’s James Raybould and Will Hamlin.

How Often Should I Post?

Is frequency in social media posting important?  Yes of course it is.  If the last Tweet or blog post was about the Christmas party in 2001 you are in trouble.  But should you be focused solely on the frequency of your posts?

No, you should be more worried about the quality of your posts.

Understand how often you share content on social media whilst still maintaining a high level of quality.  This should equate to strong levels of engagement.

Sustaining a good engagement score is imperative.  If you use social media monitoring tools such as Klout or SproutSocial be aware of the level of engagement you are generating.  If posting to LinkedIn or Facebook as a business (either via a Company Page or a Facebook Page) you should keep your eye on the engagement numbers (clicks and social actions as a ratio to impressions) of your company status updates and posts.
Engagement Score Decline
Regardless of the actual score you get in Klout or the numbers on LinkedIn, be sure to spot trends.  Are you gaining less followers (percentage growth) and is your engagement score heading down?  Then you need to stop everything.  Cease and desist.  Use this time to assess what you are doing wrong.  An individual post which gets weak engagement or a blip in your Klout is acceptable; as long as it is an anomaly.  If you start to see this as a trend which consistently dips without coming back up, then you need to worry.

A dropping engagement score is very hard to pick back up.  Think about the experience that you are giving your Followers, connections and fans…

  1. They read your content.
  2. It is poor quality or irrelevant.
  3. They read your content.
  4. It is poor quality or irrelevant.
  5. They don’t read your content again.

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.”
George W. Bush – speech in Nashville, Tennessee, September 17th 2002

Your target audience doesn’t have infinite time to waste on trivial content.  There are over 400million Tweets sent every day, over 2billion status updates seen a week on LinkedIn, 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.  You aren’t the only person they are following.  They can get better content elsewhere.  They have moved on.

You’ve just been Unfollowed.

5 Steps to Making the Right Mistakes in Marketing… and How to Fix Them

The biggest fear you have in your company today is making a bad decision.  In the corporate world a bad decision can wipe millions off your share price, cost you your clients, get you fired, or maybe all of the above.  We are programmed to fear making mistakes.  When prehistoric man made a mistake it could have cost them their life.  Fear is natural.

The problem with fear is that it makes us want to play safe.  Playing safe in business means falling behind; it means that you aren’t innovating.  Playing safe in the corporate world can wipe millions off your share price, cost you your clients, get you fired, or maybe all of the above.  We are programmed to fear making mistakes.  But every now and then we need to put ourselves on the line and risk it.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
George Bernard Shaw

Progress comes from trying new things.  If we don’t try new things we will never change, never improve and, as a business, never be more successful.  Making mistakes in marketing can be quick and, thankfully, due to the nature of digital marketing it can often be fixed.Innovation Adoption Lifecycle

Today we all talk about Big Data.  We have more information than ever before and whether you are a business professional making decisions about your company’s strategy or a consumer wondering what to buy you can use the endless reports, focus groups or spread sheets to help you.

But does this help?

Not every time.  You can only report on what has happened historically and make assumptions based on that environment and those sets of circumstances.  But what about today?  What about your client or customer base?  How will they react?  No matter how much data you have about historical events you can’t guarantee what will happen in the future.

Operational Decision Making IBM

Here is how you can make your mistakes… and learn from them fast.

1.  Have a hunch and research it.
Having an idea is the hardest part of this process.  Spend the majority of your time finding out what you want to achieve and what you can do to get there.  You will find that you have a hunch of what might work.  This idea may be unique and creative, logical and straightforward or stolen from someone else.  Whatever you think might work; write it down.  Then do your research.  Ask people what they think of your idea get them to pick holes in it, improve it and tweak it.  Have you got case studies where it has worked in the past?  Learn from these.

2.  Roll out your idea.
Even if the odds are stacked against you – if you are convinced that your idea will work – you should go with it.
Make it happen.  Be bold.  Don’t test this idea in such an isolated way that it is bound to fail, or could appear to fail because it won’t impact enough people to see measurable results.  You need to gamble here.  Go big enough to get the information you need to know how you can improve your idea or kill it.  If you can, start to A/B test – where you run two similar ideas in tandem and find out which is best.

3.  Set your deadlines and know when to cash-out.
Know when your “best” ideas need to be killed off.  This might be painful for you as you may have invested, time, effort and credibility in this effort.  It is better to know when to stop than to carry on regardless.

4.  Kaizen 改善.
Kaizen is Japanese for “improvement” or “change for the best”.  It refers to a philosophy or practice that focuses upon continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering, business management or any process.  At this point in your process you need to be refining what you have started out with.  Continue to optimise your marketing strategy based on the feedback and the data at your disposal.  If you are A/B testing then keep running with the most successful idea and create another test to see if you can further improve on what you have done.

5.  Go again.
Come up with a new idea.  Roll with it.  Test it out and continue to improve on it.  Don’t stop innovating.  You will die if you stop (metaphorically).  You will get fired if you stop (literally).  You will not be successful unless you try new things.


You can either make a decision based purely on data – or you can make a decision and improve it based on the data.

What would you you do: Follow the numbers or go with your gut?


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