Monthly Archives: January 2013

“All he really cares about is the number of fans” – Measurement and Making the Boss Happy

Over the last handful of years, social media platforms have been busy trying to make measurements more meaningful. Just like the progress from hits to pageviews, we have seen social media move from fans/followers to impressions, interactions and virality.

But guess what, very often, your boss in all His Busyness, really only pays attention to “The Number”.

Of fans, that is.

That's a lot of fans
That’s a lot of fans

Now the experienced social media manager/marketer may frown and go, “I’ve worked so hard deciphering and digging up all these insights and analytics, and all the boss cares about is the number of Facebook fans.”

I say: work it to your advantage. It doesn’t mean your valuable, meaningful Insights numbers are now useless – they will always help you make informed decisions and be prepared to answer the occasional “That’s a good question” question during the monthly meeting. In fact, consider the fact that this makes your job easier.

What are some of the signs that your boss is just a “Numbers” person (and by “Numbers” I refer to simple ones like fan base numbers, followers, membership numbers and the like) ? Here are a few:

  1. His face lights up when the number increases. (For other numbers, like impressions and all that, he nods approvingly. But for fan base increases, his face lights up).
  2. When he is chatting with you in passing about your community, he says things like, “We’ve got 24,600 fans now right?”.  They basically don’t really remember any other number.
  3. The number he remembers is almost always a little higher than reality. Sometimes by a thousand.

OK, so let’s say you’ve got a boss like that, so what should you do?

Well, for a start, always have the number ready. Check it every morning and evening (like you don’t already). Be always ready to say, calmly, “24, 712 as of this morning, actually” and be rewarded with the smile.  Put the number up front in the first slide during your presentation report. If it has gone down, have the explanation ready in the same slide. If it’s gone up, have… actually if it’s gone up your job is done, everything else is extra icing.

Just kidding, be aware why it went up of course. Your FB insights, your Google analytics, your virality figures, impressions, etc. – know all these so you know how to explain things and give examples.  These figures, as you know, are often confusing, subjective and misleading. So, the fact that your boss is NOT bo(b)ssessed with them is actually sort of a good thing.  You can speculate, interpret, approximate on all these statistics, but the one that you need to wield like a holy glowing sword +5 is the The Number.

My point: if all your boss really is concerned about is The Number, then make sure whatever measurement you do on you channels, always make sure you know how to relate it to that number.  This way, you will always know how to report to your boss (and make him smile), and you needn’t worry too much about subjective stats. Your job becomes easier.

Now, if you have a boss who likes to examine, interpret and strategize around virality, sentiments, impressions and other woozy numbers.. then we have to work a little differently…