Measuring Social Media

Most firms feel as though it’s necessary to be active in the Social Media (SM) space, but don’t really understand how to participate optimally in this new medium or what the benefits are.  As we’ve discussed in class, many firms enter into this digital unknown if for no other reason then everyone else is doing it. So like lemmings, businesses from all corners of the earth, in all imaginable industries, throw themselves in to the digital abyss chasing this big shiny object known as SM. Unfortunately, as we’ve heard before it’s not a panacea, there is no magic wand.

Without clearly defined goals and objectives, it’s difficult to know what metrics should be monitored and tracked in order to define success.  With the sheer volume of activity and growth in SM there is an endless supply of data points and metrics. Consequently, IT minded people are producing huge amounts of data that overwhelm simple-minded marketing folk; resulting in sub optimal measurement and ultimately understanding of SM campaigns.

Businesses burst with pride when tallying up the number of friends, followers, subscribers, posts and tweets that campaigns have generated. But does this really matter? Is this an accurate measure of success? Avanash Kaushik says no.  What in fact matters is what happens AFTER you post, tweet or participate. In short, the measure of success should be whether or not your participation drove action.

In his blog, Kaushik proposes four distinct social media metrics that can and should be used as measures of success across any SM platform. Find the full article here:

1)   Conversion Rate = # of Audience Comments (or Replies) per Post

2)   Amplification Rate

  • On Twitter = # of Retweets Per Tweet
  • On Facebook or Google Plus = # Shares per Post
  • On a Blog or YouTube = # of Share Clicks per Post

3)   Applause Rate

  • On Twitter = # Favorite Clicks per Post
  • On Facebook = # of Likes per Post
  • On Google Plus = # of +1’s per Post
  • On a Blog or YouTube = # of +1’s and Likes per Post (or video)

4)   Economic Value  = Sum of Short and Long Term Revenue and Cost Savings

The above metrics give an indication of the effect that a SM campaign has had.  When leveraging any of these measures however, it is critical to have an understanding of what the intended outcome of the SM campaign is.  As a famous professor has been known to say, “That which gets measured gets done.”

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