Luke Brynley-Jones leads a panel debate, on the idea that quality has been forgotten as a social metric. What do people think?

Sharon Flaherty, head of content & PR, How do you know if anything’s quality content? I get e-mails from people all the time asking me to host their infographic with an embedded link, for SEO purposes. How do I know if it’s quality? Have they done their research? Guest blogging is becoming dangerous, because it’s all about SEO.

Lutz Finger, co-founder of Fisheye Analytics: You need to act like a journalist. People used to hail that social networks got way from the gatekeepers. That means that people need to act like journalists to verify the quality of content. There is a need for it. It’s an interesting cycle backwards.

Robin grant

Robin Grant, managing director, We Are Social: What defines a quality fan base? Raw numbers don’t cut it. Engagement is arguably a better number – because surely only quality content would attract engagement? Well, possibly not. Are pictures of tomato ketchup – which get great engagement – actually having any impact on the brand? It’s almost impossible to track that. You can have facile, lightweight engagement.

Katie Howell, MD, Immediate Future: It’s about layers. There are a whole series of layers – but I totally disagree that you need a journalist. There are different skills needed. People need to understand their audience in detail, and what the purpose of the content is. Most journalists aren’t trained in that. If you get into optimisation, you figure out how to add another action to engagement. The rhetoric is that social media is a conversation. With one of our B2B clients, the best performance is where there’s no conversation.

Sharon flaherty

Sharon: We got into content seriously when the Mayday update pushed us to page 2 of Google. It worked, but it took two years. We use Google Analytics, and have it in the place that they can track people’s journeys from the content they land on through the site.

Lutz: What we measure needs to have an aim. If you don’t have that, you can’t build measurement. Quality is “quality for a certain aim”. If I’m trying to sell my book, I’m giving speeches that get people to sign up for information on my book. If they sign up, it was good content. LinkedIn endorsements immediately triggered companies offering endorsement bots. What makes an important person? My wife and kids are important to me…

Robin: “What’s the worth of a Facebook an” may be a tedious question, but it’s important and can be answered. For Bulmer’s we figured out it was worth about £200 per annum. There’s a lot you can do to understand the value of segments of your audience.

Sharon: You should start from the point that everything you produce is the best you could produce. Then it’s just a question of how you slice and dice it. Our no claims bonus guide is boring to me – but its a huge driver of traffic and conversion. Is that quality? Yes.

Katie: Platforms are forcing us down certain paths when it comes to content creation.

Robin: Relevance is user-centric, and applies to any form of engagement. Quality is something that drives something meaningful for the brand. It’s a subset of relevant.

Sharon: We all understand relevance, and we all think that. t’s about making sure you have relevant content, but with quality at the same time.

Lutz: You need relevant content to trigger actions. Quality is subjective, relevancy is the one link throughout.