Social Media Metrics: The Challenge is What to Measure

According to BtoB Magazine’s Emerging Trends in B-to-B Social Media Marketing Study published earlier this year, the second biggest hurdle in adopting social for B2B marketers is poorly defined social media metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs).  Of those surveyed, 57% reported this as an obstacle, and just 25% indicated they have ROI metrics in place.


The Challenge is What to Measure

Naturally, the first step is determining what to measure.  “Duh, thanks, Jude.  You are truly a master of the obvious.”  Sure it seems obvious, but if this was as easy as it sounds, everyone would be doing it, right? 

A key element of defining your social media metrics is not confusing activity with accomplishment.  Do Facebook page “likes” matter to your business?  Perhaps indirectly, but they probably aren’t your primary goal.  Always try to tie your KPIs back to the objectives of your social media plan (see step three of my Six-step Startup Guide to Social Media Planning).  Strive to make your measurements meaningful.  Ask yourself, “Does this measurement matter?  Does it tell me a story?”  Then focus on the ones that do and forget the ones that don’t.

Examples of Social Media Metrics

Here are some examples of social media metrics you might want to adopt to measure performance against a variety of possible social goals and objectives:

Web Traffic and Social “Presence” Measures

  • Search rank for targeted key words/phrases
  • Increased media presence (print and online)
  • Product mentions and/or reviews
  • Website traffic resulting from social sources/networks
  • Length of site visits; are social visitors more/less “engaged?”
  • Percentage of website traffic entering through blog
  • Brand mentions in social networks; positive and negative

Branding, Customer Service and “Engagement” Measures

  • Blog interaction via direct or social commenting (e.g., retweets)
  • Engagement trends and activity ratios of those followers; how many interactions (i.e. conversations) are taking place?
  • Social “captures” (e.g., site registrations, subscriptions, lead qualifications, etc.)
  • Trends in customer satisfaction levels
  • Customer service cost reductions
  • Product development activity resulting from social engagements (i.e., conversations)
  • Movement against brand positioning objectives (e.g., thought leadership, customer service, technical innovation, etc.)

What have I missed?  What are your favorite (and least favorite) social media metrics for measuring the success/ROI of your social efforts?  Leave a comment and let us know!


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