Visibility versus Viability

While reading mashable.com this morning I stumbled across an article by Shiv Singh, the VP and Global Social Media Lead for Razorfish—a reputable agency of which I have watched evolve over the years. What Shiv brings to our attention is an algorithm which he champions as the SIM Score.

It is no mystery that clients are demanding, and should continue to demand, more and more detailed analytics into their social media endeavors. I have been saying it to my clients and readers as much as possible—the days of friends and followers were limited, frenetic, and are now nonsensical.  With that said, I first applaud Shiv for taking a crack at the indexing of influence on social media. Shiv uses simple math, and in my opinion simple is best for communicating business objectives.

Here is where it falls short though:

If we look at Shiv’s formula, the Net Sentiment of the Brand quickly loses its value when incorporating the Neutral Conversations metric at its face value. Simply put an agency like Razorfish is paid to push ‘neutral’ conversations across many mediums—it is called PR. If you think that PR isn’t being pushed on social networks, then you might as well buy into this formula.

You see, the sentiment of a brand cannot be measured by the fiscal investment of that said brand. We cannot buy our customer’s sentiment. If we include Neutral Conversations in our formula for sentiment, we have in fact purchased our sentiment through impressions. Or done what a good PR agency is hired to do, and that is muffle the negative sentiments—thus skewing our data.

So if you truly do want to see the true sentiment of the brand. Simply divide the Positive Sentiment by the Total Amount of Conversations. Don’t stop at sentiment though, consider deeper analytics such as degrees of connection and depth of conversations. Additionally, try not to make business statements based upon singular metrics…it just causes trouble.  😉

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7 comments

  1. Thanks for your perspective. I’d like to point out that Razorfish is not paid to push neutral mentions. We do not do PR for our clients. Also, the neutral sentiment (in the context of volume) is a reflection of the brand’s health. For example, the Microsoft tablet maybe appearing as much positively as the Apple iPad but because its being talked about so much less in the neutral light too (compared to the iPad), its brand health is a lot less in my opinion and its likely not to do as well. Still, thanks for the feedback which is important for us to consider as the SIM Score enters its next iteration.

    And most importantly, the SIM Score is one metric that sits side by side other business metrics just as the NPS should.

  2. You might not do PR, but you are working in the social media space is what I’m getting at. Whether it is defined as PR or not, it is impacting as PR would; maybe a whole other tangent, but I see PR agencies crossing over in the social media space quite a bit.

    I get the desire to have a reflection of the health of a brand. I’m not here with a silver bullet formula; however I still feel that the ‘neutral’ sentiment measurement skews even the health of a brand. Simply because there are more impressions of a message out there, does not mean that the source is not an agency or a catalytic agency interaction towards a target audience. It becomes biassed and skewed if those are part of the tally. I guess if you are qualifying your neutral count as instances that can be proven to be volunteered statements as opposed to retweets or regurgitations of work on behalf of clients, you might be right. I didn’t see that explanation though; are you qualifying your score in this way? Like I said on Mashable, I really appreciate you putting your ideas out there for us to converse about; I think it moves us all in the right direction!

  3. Jak zbudować silną markę Reklama PR…

    Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: OMMA Social: Building brands with Social Media….

  4. Jak zbudować silną markę Reklama PR…

    Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: OMMA Social: Building brands with Social Media….

  5. Thanks for your perspective. I’d like to point out that Razorfish is not paid to push neutral mentions. We do not do PR for our clients. Also, the neutral sentiment (in the context of volume) is a reflection of the brand’s health. For example, the Microsoft tablet maybe appearing as much positively as the Apple iPad but because its being talked about so much less in the neutral light too (compared to the iPad), its brand health is a lot less in my opinion and its likely not to do as well. Still, thanks for the feedback which is important for us to consider as the SIM Score enters its next iteration.

    And most importantly, the SIM Score is one metric that sits side by side other business metrics just as the NPS should.

  6. Thanks for your perspective. I’d like to point out that Razorfish is not paid to push neutral mentions. We do not do PR for our clients. Also, the neutral sentiment (in the context of volume) is a reflection of the brand’s health. For example, the Microsoft tablet maybe appearing as much positively as the Apple iPad but because its being talked about so much less in the neutral light too (compared to the iPad), its brand health is a lot less in my opinion and its likely not to do as well. Still, thanks for the feedback which is important for us to consider as the SIM Score enters its next iteration.

    And most importantly, the SIM Score is one metric that sits side by side other business metrics just as the NPS should.

  7. Just killing some free time on Digg and I found your post . Not normally what I like to learn about, but it was definitely worth my time. Thanks.

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