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. 😉