by Jenny Sussin | October 7, 2014 | Comments Off on Social Media Metrics: 101
A wise woman once told me never to mistake activity for achievement and while I heard her, I never really understood her before I came to work for Gartner.
At Gartner, I have the opportunity to observe from afar, or in other cases from a bit too close, and recognize what is going right amongst our clients, and what is going wrong. And there is one thing that continues to go wrong within our client base, within “case studies,” and within media coverage of the business use of social media: the discussion of metrics.
Fans, followers, likes, comments, re-tweets, views, engagement rate, impressions…these things tell us nothing in isolation. There are activity metrics and they’re easy to measure. Easy to measure doesn’t mean that they’re bad, but alone they tell us nothing about our productivity towards a goal which impacts the business.
There is a way to make activity metrics more useful: make them relative. This doesn’t mean that saying in January you acquired 40 new fans and in February you increased that to 80 – metrics like that still don’t tell you much of anything. Instead, take a look at how many impressions you have from a Facebook ad as compared to the newsprint ad you bought. Compare impressions to cost. Is your cost per impression for equally targeted advertising less on social media than it is in traditional media?
Relative activity measurements help companies with things that matter like cost savings or increase in revenue generating opportunities, or even the ability to do predictive analysis when correlated to other data sets. And hey take it from someone who didn’t want to hear it, if you can do something to track conversions but you think it will minimize viewership or consumption of your content (like putting up a registration wall,) remember that unless YOU capture that lead via social media, you can’t prove that the lead came from work that YOU did. And so YOUR budget is going to get cut.
If you’re reading this post, I want you to take 10 minutes (block your calendar) and write out what you’re doing on social media and how it impacts your business. If you want to share, great, but if not keep in mind that this activity is for YOU to help YOU.
Meanwhile, Gartner clients, GO BEYOND ACTIVITY METRICS and check out the metrics that your peers are measuring and how difficult they are to measure along with how impactful they are to your business.
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