Good social media content has to be "a combination of relevancy, reach and quality", but you can't get one without the others, said Vodafone's, strategic lead for social media communications at Social Media Week London.
Discussing key metrics and the importance of knowing your brand audience at a talk hosted by Socialbakers, Dan Bowsher from Vodafone stated that social was a means through which the company could promote its business strategy, and that businesses could not afford not to be on social.
Bowsher noted that about two thirds of messages about Vodafone weren't actually sent to the brand - some from 'dark engagements' (private one to one conversations), people spelling the brand name as Vodaphone and people using the wrong Twitter handle. This meant Vodafone had to implement a check for all these mentions.
"It is important to understand how the brand is perceived but checking for sentiment is not the be all and end all", he added, as customers would take to social to complain about things like the service going down "and that is not a social problem".
Fellow panellist, Robin Grant, global managing director of We Are Social, agreed: "We're not that keen on using sentiment measurements; except to measure a crisis situation. What is more important is brand mentions, to see how popular your brand is". He also suggested benchmarking against rivals to compare results.
In terms of KPIs, the belief held by Grant is that "it is only useful [to track KPIs] if you're taking action" based on what is learnt, but that it is the best way to measure business objectives.
However, brands need to create measurement frameworks for KPIs to make sure everything is dealt with in the same way globally, he added.
"There's no point in you measuring social success one way in Malaysia and another way in Germany."
While the same metrics should be used by a company globally, Vodafone's Bowsher, We Are Social's Grant and Socialbakers CMO Neil Morgan all agreed that brands could not just use one metric to measure social success. They add that a whole number of metrics needed to be taken into consideration, including reach, fan growth and engagement, as well as return on paid social.
"Social is never going to boil down to one metric. It has to be about mixed metrics," Morgan confirmed, but suggested that in order to accurately measure any form of success, brands need to create objectives.
Using Socialbakers data of how objectives for paid social campaigns were tagged, he revealed that 37 per cent did not state any objective. The objective that was put down most often by brands was to increase post engagement.
"There is a lot of debate - is engagement the best route for measurement or is it interactions? It's hard to compare engagements for different campaigns," he continued, using Oreo's famous Dunk in the Dark ad as an example.
While the Oreo post created a huge buzz, in all rival snack brand, Snickers still managed to do better in terms of interactions with its fans overall.
Morgan concluded that Oreo was "a brand that got lucky. If you're on the Oreo team you're probably happy to have higher engagement and interactions in the long-term."
Selena Harrington from Microsoft Mobile also discussed this idea in her SMW talk, stating that you cannot make lightning strike twice though reactive content.