YEO – Numbers That Means Something

Last Thursday I wrote about Why Twitter Follower Counts Mean Nothing.

The post touched off some interesting public and private discussions. The number huggers are everywhere and their logic, in a very comfortable, that-sounds-like-something-i’ve-done-before, kind of way, can certainly appear sound. They ask questions like, “Why broadcast to 10 people when you can broadcast to 10,000?” Who could argue with that, right? The clue to the answer lies in the question itself.


Is that really what we’re doing in the social media space? Some think so. I don’t. I received a direct message from Matt Rathbun this morning that contained a link to a page selling a Twitter Mini-Course Book. I’m not sharing his site. I’m not giving Snake Oil salesmen link love. Matt wasn’t kind in his analysis.

The people who will succeed by treating Twitter, Facebook and other social networks like electronic direct mail are people who are selling “magic” solutions for growing your business to people looking for “easy” “I want results now” answers. And those successes will be short lived. Because that’s not how effective social media marketing works.

Engagement Is The New Marketing Metric.

Engagement through Social Media is aligned with how trust is built, how real relationships form and transactions result. “Working to build relationships (over time)” is not as easy to sell as “attract more customers now!” But those who see its wisdom will profit in the long run.

In 2008, Forrester Research rightly stated that “engagement” was the new marketing metric. “Using engagement, you get a more holistic appreciation of your customers’ actions, recognizing that value comes not just from transactions but also from actions people take to influence others. Once engagement takes hold of marketing, marketing messages will become conversations, and dollars will shift from media buying to customer understanding.”

All the numbers that really matter are related to engagement. Forester proposed a four “I” concept for measuring engagement.

  • Involvement tracks site visitors, time spent, page views and more (old-school stuff)
  • Interaction measures the contributions to blogs, photo and video creation and uploads, and purchases
  • Intimacy tries to understand consumer attitudes, perception, and feelings about a brand through surveys or monitoring technology as well as applications providing an interactive environment between brand and consumers
  • Influence measures the likelihood that consumers will recommend or advocate products or brands

I’m not against numbers per se. But the numbers must mean something. Would truly engaging with 10,000 be better than truly engaging with 10? Of course. But the key to the value in that statement is the word “engaging.” How many people can YOU truly engage? It’s going to be a different number for you than for the next person stumbling onto this post.

YEO (You Engaging Others) is not focused on YOU. It’s focused on OTHERS. YEO is about communicating in a way that allows you to be heard above the noise. It’s about listening more than talking. And it’s impossible to listen when all you’re doing is broadcasting.