Measuring your initiatives is an important aspect of understanding how your social media efforts are performing, but many find it difficult to identify the specific metrics they need. There is no single way to measure social media success, as each organization aims for different goals. But rest assured, there is a way.
Here are five steps:
Step 1: Align your objectives with your metrics
For measurement to be effective, it has to align directly with the measurable objectives you’ve set. Those objectives should follow the SMART methodology, first introduced by Peter Drucker in his 1954 book, The Practice of Management. The acronym stands for your goals being Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timed.
Step 2: Measure awareness, attention, and reach
Social media makes it easy for your customers and prospects to share information about your products and services with their family and friends online. It also enables brands to have direct relationships with their customers. How do you measure the effectiveness of these conversations or relationships? Awareness, attention, and reach. This includes looking at:
- Potential reach of your fans, followers, and subscribers
- Share of conversation
- Strength of referrals/recommendations
- Inbound links
Step 3. Measure conversions and sales
Most beginners think social media measurement is about counting the number of eyeballs. But what really matters is the actions those people take as a result of your social media efforts. This can also be known as a conversion. A conversion means taking action, whether it’s clicking a link, filling out a formc or making purchases on your website. It all depends on your organization’s goals.
Step 4. Track and measure social media leads
Whether you’re using a spreadsheet or a CRM system to keep track of your prospects, you’ll want a way to designate a lead source. You can even split that source into specific social channels: blog subscribers, Twitter followers, LinkedIn contacts, etc.
Step 5. Measure cost savings
Sometimes, the value in a business endeavor isn’t about what goes up – like revenue – but what comes down, like costs. Social media can create efficiency, most notably on the customer service side, but also in areas like training or communications. For instance cost per issue resolution and savings on issue resolution time.
The essence of measurement is capturing accurate data and using it to tweak your tactics. There is no universal way to measure each initiative but there are several metrics that can be applied in certain situations. Equations – like ROI – are more or less fixed, but how you derive the elements of that measurement is dependent on your processes and what you choose to track.