Log in Register

Measure, feedback and learn from your social media analytics

Your objective is to:

  1. Establish a baseline.
  2. Set relevant measures of success - see below (also see your objectives).
  3. Monitor measures.
  4. Test what will improve results
  5. Capture and communicate success stories.
  6. Report to managers/directors/clients.
  7. Refine your strategy and measures.

The challenges of measuring social marketing.

Set relevant measures of success

Meet with stakeholders in your organization to determine what metrics are useful for you and your team to track. 

Here are six measurement metrics:

  1. Lead generation by content, channel, and initiative

    The measurement of leads is a distinct and accurate assessment of direct ROI.

    Track lead generation by content asset and source. What social media sources are driving the most traffic? What kinds of content drive the most leads? The most revenue? For example, a coupon offer on Monday via Facebook and email can reliably produce an incoming level of customer traffic by the end of the week.

    Can you forecast conversion?

  2. Web traffic and clicks

    Many software platforms offer the ability to track the traffic that comes to a company's site.

    Basic analytics from Google Analytics can give an overall picture of the traffic and the click through that comes from various social media platforms. However, even better, a growing number of social media platforms can also measure the traffic and clicks that emerge from employee shared content, and can even tell you which employees (or outside advocates) are producing the most.

    In either case, the amount of traffic and the number of clicks are clear metrics that companies can use to measure improvement over time, as well as to estimate with the help of conversion rate metrics to determine the amount of revenue and business that is being produced.

  3. Social engagement, not just reach

    Reach is defined as the total size of the audience you can reach, including your Twitter followers, Facebook fans, LinkedIn followers, blog subscribers, and email lists.

    But the world is noisy, and just because someone follows you doesn’t mean they are engaging with your brand.

    Increasingly, new platforms are gaining the ability to view the number of retweets, re-shares, favourites, and comments the company's social media content receives.

    This is valuable information that can give a clearer picture of the content's true value, as well as an indication of which topics and pieces of information engage and inspire readers and viewers the most.

    Tools such as Feedburner show similar metrics for engagement, not just reach.

    The way engagement is measured varies from platform to platform, but however you measure engagement, it’s always useful to see it plotted on a chart over time.

    Keep things simple by focusing on the engagement for the last 30 days. There can be a fair amount of variation in engagement day by day, particularly on Twitter, so engagement charts tend to fluctuate up and down.

    Look for spikes in engagement that could indicate a viral piece of content, the start of a new campaign, or content that has some paid promotion behind it. If there are no significant spikes beyond the usual, you can then move on to the next metric to check.

    If there is a spike in engagement, check the date and find the piece of content on the brand’s wall or in its stream.

    By looking at the content, most people can quickly determine if it got high engagement because it was a particularly excellent piece of content that caused people to share it organically, or if it was result of a paid push.

    Because daily engagement charts tend to fluctuate so much, consider using moving averages to see the overall engagement trend. A 30 day moving average flattens out the fluctuation and gives a better idea of how a brand is doing overall. A steep rise in a 30 day moving average indicates a new campaign with a strong paid element to it.

  4. Integration

    Tools such as Bitly and Topsy are valuable for providing a clearer picture of the company's truest social media reach.

    The ability to integrate these tools into the company's platform for social media shares is more valuable still, as it becomes more reasonable and viable to use these tools as a trustworthy metric on the actual level of social media shares.

  5. Share of voice

    With social media, share of voice refers to the number of conversations about your company versus your competitors/market.

    The value of online customer and prospect interaction can be tied to the share of voice (SOV) metric. Segment brand mentions by social channel to uncover opportunities for improvement. You may find that your efforts on one particular channel are going unnoticed, but excelling on another channel.

    The formula for calculating SOV is simple: divide the number of conversations or mentions of your brand by the total number of relevant conversations or mentions in your market.

  6. Growth

    While the industry has moved on from using increasing fan and follower numbers as a business objective, growth in the community base is a great metric to use as an early warning system when monitoring your competitors.

    If you know the average growth rate of your sector, you should be able to spot when there’s a surge in growth. Facebook Insights allows you to track up to 100 different pages and will tell you their fan growth, but to quickly judge if there’s a change in growth you’ll need to see the data in a chart.

    When looking at a chart of fan or follower growth over a 7 day period, you’re looking for spikes in growth. These spikes often correspond to a new campaign, a viral piece of content, a piece of publicity earned by the brand, or as the result of some paid push.

    If you do come across any spikes in growth, increase the time period to 90 days. Sometimes the spurt can be an anomaly and doesn’t require further investigation. Perhaps in the last couple of weeks, growth has been lower than normal, and the growth spurt is just the profile returning back to normal growth. When seeing the larger picture, you can determine whether it’s worth investigating any further.

    If you see a spurt in growth on your brand’s social profiles or on your competitors’, immediately investigate the mentions the brand is getting on Twitter. If you have access to software that creates word clouds from user Facebook posts and user tweets, see if there are any recurring words being used, which indicates a campaign or potential PR crisis.

At a minimum, these six metrics are available in at least broad strokes to every organization. With more sophistication, it's also becoming increasingly possible to see which topics, which content, and which employees and advocates are most proactive and productive in generating revenue and business from the company's social media news -- especially important as companies are increasingly putting employee advocacy programmes to work.

Monitoring tools

How important are your influencers?

Facebook metrics

Twitter metrics

Blogging metrics