The Basics: Social Media Metrics 101

By on July 10, 2009

Getting your business involved in social media is one thing, being able to measure how profitable that move has been for you is another thing entirely – and one, I should point out, that is continuing to evolve today.

So what do you make of the extra eyeballs on your site?  Or the 3,000 new Twitter followers?  How do the intangible things like positive buzz effect the bottom line of your business – if at all?  And most importantly, how do we measure them?

Social media metrics is a hot topic with a lot of opinions floating about, especially as those of us in the social media industry start to figure out how to measure the impact.  With this in mind, here are a few basics to consider when talking about social media metrics.

What’s the Big Deal?

Why are social media metrics so darn tricky?  Like I mentioned earlier, so much of what you experience in social media can be intangible – the positive vibe your customers are giving off, the general sense of a growing buzz around your brand identity.  Even the increase in traffic to a profile may not necessarily mean an increase in sales, and yet, the increase in traffic isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  See where the difficulty comes in?

The problem is that most people start to confuse measuring loyalty metrics (positive buzz, more followers, increased conversations, etc), with measuring ROI, which can lead to inaccurate assessments and even ending a campaign before its peak.  When you begin thinking of how to measure the monetary results of your social media efforts, here are some guiding points to help you and your team find a bit of focus.

Where Exactly are You Going?

Before beginning anything, it’s a good idea to know where you want to end up.  It’s pretty hard to gauge how far you’ve come if you don’t know where it is you want to go, and it’s next to impossible to declare success if you aren’t sure what it looks like to you.

Where are You Now?

Take a good look at your business right now and figure out where you stand at the moment: Consider the numbers surrounding new transactions or customers, sales volume (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly), year over year growth, and so on.

How are You Going to Get There?

Next, decide what you’re going to measure.  Will it help you grasp how accurately you’re heading toward that goal?   Pick out the tools you’ll need in order to track your goals and capture results at predetermined periods (daily, weekly, monthly, etc).

But don’t stop there, go ahead and analyze your competition as best you can.  While they’re goals may vary slightly from you, analyzing them and their effectiveness will help you grasp a better sense of where you stand in the marketplace.

Lastly, be sure to provide regular stats to decision makers in the company, so that everyone can see where you’re going and what’s been done.

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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