The Social Networking Cake Recipe
I think I ate a piece of the greatest chocolate cake of my entire life last night, and it got me thinking deeply about tracking statistics in Social Media and the challenges posed to businesses as they try to get into this space. What, you don’t see this connection?
It was my son’s birthday, and because he shares my intense passion for chocolate, and my wife is one of the greatest cooks/bakers in all of creation, we were all treated to another in her ever evolving refinement of chocolate cake perfection. We get at least two of these cakes a year, one here in the Spring on our son’s birthday, and the other in the Winter on my birthday. As I reveled in the experience of chocolate cake nirvana, I began to marvel at the way this cake was more than the sum of its parts.
For the most part, businesses are now staring at their Social Networking marketing landscape like a wonderful chocolate cake. It calls to be enjoyed, and once in, it reveals itself to be something you’d never want to do without. After the buzz wears off and their eyes begin to focus again, many businesses will (and should) begin to ponder what exactly makes this cake taste so darn good? How can the next piece of cake be even better? But it can be a frustrating endeavor to stare at a delicious slice of cake trying to determine what perfect balance of ingredients went into making it so, let alone what would improve upon it. Looking at the mouthwatering beauty that is chocolate cake, you can’t see the baking powder; you can’t count the eggs; you don’t know how many tablespoons of water might be in there, nor whether they went in cold or warm. And while you might notice a hint of coffee added somewhere, you’d be hard pressed to identify the precise espresso ratio.
Does any of that matter? Is it like learning how a magician does a magic trick, killing the mystery and mystique? It’s not just the list of ingredients, but the artful way that they are assembled, right? There are those who would say that we should step up and eat the Social Media cake for its own sake, and not dwell on how the ingredients are balanced, nor how we might tweak and manipulate them further. Blogger/web guy @youngfook points out this concept in his well written study of the world of metrics in Social Media:
“Some people believe that social media is not a channel to sell things but it is something that should be used purely to engage with your customers. An extension of ethics – something so core to your business that you should be just “doing it” and not thinking about what you get back from it.”
He goes on to say Social Networking is an equally valid channel to use as a marketing tool, and I agree. There is no reason not to attempt to unravel and understand the intricacies behind this medium which calls to businesses from a purely ethical standpoint. And digging deeply into your online business marketing vision and goals becomes extremely important as you explore the metrics and details lurking below the surface. Knowing where to measure, what those measurements mean, and how to adjust the ingredients moving forward to improve the end result is a long standing tenant of good Internet Marketing. And yes, Social Media does demand participation at a certain ethical, human level. This merely demonstrates its potency as a communication tool. And at the end of the day, communicating with clients and delivering your message effectively is at the core of your business goals – a sum worth far more than its parts, indeed.
Perhaps we can have our cake and measure it too (sorry, couldn’t pass up the cliché). I’m just excited to get home for another piece tonight.