Social Media Metrics

The Radian 6 article made an excellent point regarding social media measurement saying, “For measurement to be effective, it has to align directly with the measurable objectives you’ve set. Those measurable objectives should be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timed (following the SMART methodology), and directly correlate to your organization’s big-picture goals for this program (i.e., we want to increase brand awareness)” (pg. 3). Basically, you’re still making goals and objectives for your business or organization, you’re just carrying them out in a different method or outlet so measuring them shouldn’t be quite as difficult as people make it seem. Also, like mentioned in the Mourdough article, if you can’t determine a quantifiable number to base your measurements on then you can at least tell the general direction the progress is taking using qualitative measurements. Seeing that things are heading in a positive direction is more helpful than trying to analyze random numbers that don’t really represent anything.  Or if you’re jumping into social media free as a bird without any idea of what you’re doing or want to accomplish, then, yeah, that’s going to be pretty hard to measure.

What’s important to remember when dealing with social media metrics is that you don’t have to face it alone. Take a deep breath, relax, and go online to use the multitude of resources available such as: 

(Source: Murdough, 2009)

While I do think that these data sources are a great help and are becoming more and more technologically advanced over the years, I also don’t believe that they’re your best bet. For each situation it requires different tools. Sometimes, it might even be best to use personal judgment versus technology. For example, the same tweet could be taken into different context depending on the tone used. “I’m having the time of my life at X place.” If you’re on an awesome vacation, then, yes, you might be actually having the time of your life and this would be a positive statement. If, however, you were sitting at the DMV then this would be read as a sarcastic, negative statement. Therefore, your results aren’t going to be 100% accurate, and this goes back to what I mentioned earlier about being able to just see the general direction that social media is taking.

So in chapter 7 of Social Media Metrics, they discuss a “web presence platform. “Wetpaint lets you build a rich, online community around the whatever-it-is that you’re really into. Utilizing the best features of wikis, blogs, forums, and social net- works, Wetpaint mixes everything you need so you can create, collect, and organize content on your own social web site” (p.182).

This really interested me because it sounded like something we could use to help with the social media in the USF College of Business; however, when I visited this is what came up:

Somehow, I don’t think that’s the same thing they were describing? I was kind of bummed.

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life — It goes on." -- Robert Frost

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about strategic communications (including social media) – have a plan. The most important thing you can remember when dealing with social media, as with dealing with every other sector of strategic communications, is that you have to have an idea before you can act. Even if it’s not the best idea ever, you can learn from it and change it as you go along, but you still have to start somewhere.

If you have no idea where to start measuring, here’s a list to put you in the right direction:

A List of Social Interaction Metrics/KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

1. Alerts (register and response rates/by channel/CTR/post click activity)

2. Bookmarks (onsite, offsite)



5. Email subscriptions

6. Fans (become a fan of something/ someone)

7. Favorites (add an item to favorites)

8. Feedback (via the site)

9. Followers (follow something/someone)

10. Forward to a friend

11. Groups (create/join/total number of groups/group activity)

12. Install widget (on a blog page, Facebook, etc.)

13. Invite/Refer (a friend

14. Key page activity (post-activity) 15. Love/Like this (a simpler form of rating something)

16. Messaging (onsite)

17. Personalization (pages, display, theme)

18. Posts

19. Profile (e.g.,update avatar, bio, links, email, customization, etc.)

20. Print page

21. Ratings

22. Registered users (new/total/active/ dormant/churn)

23. Report spam/abuse

24. Reviews

25. Settings

26. Social media sharing/participation (activity on key social media sites, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc.)

27. Tagging (user-generated metadata)

28. Testimonials

29. Time spent on key pages

30. Time spent onsite (by source/by entry page)

31. Total contributors (and % active contributors)

32. Uploads (add an item, e.g. articles, links, images, videos)

33. Views (videos, ads, rich images)

34. Widgets (number of new widgets users/ embedded widgets)

35. Wishlists (save an item to wishlist)

(Source: Social Media Metrics by Jim Sterne, p. 170-171)