Social media metrics. The philosopher’s stone brands are searching for. At any conference you go to, there will be at least one social media expert whose advice for businesses often rests in the realm of the folkloric – sto

ries, anecdotes about other brand’s successes, some memorable quotes, and that’s about it.

We need good metrics.

Maybe we’re getting there. ForeSee Results has just announced the addition of Social Media Value Calculation to its analytics suite.

“Most businesses have accepted the marketing value of social media without any real proof points,” says Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results.

“Some companies are spending millions in advertising their social media presence and staffing a team to oversee it, only to discover that social media is influencing 1% of all purchases,” according to ForeSee. “Meanwhile, promotional emails have been neglected in favor of social media, and emails are influencing 32% of purchases. Other companies are seeing social media as a primary influencer of 5-6% of all revenue with a relatively modest investment."

FourSee’s proprietary methodology was created by the University of Michigan. The company says that its algorithm links customers’ website, store or call center visits to what those customers actually spend.

“Linking what drove a customer to visit with what they actually spent or did as a result allows you to actually calculate a return on social media investment,” said Drew Bennett, senior product director at ForeSee Results. “You can accurately compare what you spend on social media marketing against the direct revenue it generates to see if you’re investing wisely in social media.”

Who knows if ForeSee’s tools will work, or if they’re just another quasi-scientific way to transmute ad spend into gold. Everything today is quantifiable, so it’s time for brands to really understand social media customer-engagement, end the folkloric, word-of-mouth education on social media best practices, and show us the stats.

By Mark Alvarez