Measuring, Metrics & Automation | Asking the Right Questions

measuring tape

How do you measure social media? What are the effective metrics you focus on? And, how do you automate the whole damn process?

Questions I’m currently wrestling with. They act like a fibonacci spiral, floating outwards, replicating into other questions. I like this.

Whilst most look to social media to provide answers, I search it for better questions.

For example, the number of Twitter followers will tell you how many people clicked the follow button not who they are, if they share your tweets / values, how much traffic you get from them, if they even like you, if you’re adding value to peoples lives etc (need to look at the back-end web stats for this or deeper still with funky little tools like Twtrland and Tweetstats).

Measuring social is a design challenge: what is left out is as important to what you leave in.

My approach is by starting with the end in mind, by exploring ‘what does success look like?’.

This is a one of those questions which never fails to connect a few synapses, and in terms of my role it’s the following (lifted directly from my job description):

  • CORE Education is recognised as key player in effective use of social media in business
  • CORE’s profile and reputation for understanding of use of effective social media is increased, especially through increased publication and dissemination activity
  • Social media activities throughout the organisation are embedded and sustainable throughout CORE
  • Improved (wider/deeper) brand awareness enables CORE to reach into existing/emerging market segments (especially into corporate market)

So that’s the result but what now needs to be crafted and applied is a change based approach. A layer of social media monitoring tools / platforms / metrics and some kind of reviewing structure to track impact.

So this is where I am. Opening up this line of questioning and hoping you the reader will offer guidance. Some ideas. Steerage and influence on how you are measuring it for your organisation, what metrics prove success and, how is it repeated.

Also keen to hear from people like Radian6 and Brandwatch or any other companies offering the above (especially for non-profits)…

“If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.”
Jack Dixon

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  1. I work on the U.S. Army’s Social Media team and measurement is a big part of what we do. Determining how our Tweets and Facebook posts resonate with our large and diverse audience is essential to hwlping us improve our approach to social media.

    People will talk about your organization whether you’re listening or not. By measuring the success of a social media presence and by listening to the online conversation, your organization can effectively determine how organizational messages are received.

    Nearly all of the most popular social media platforms offer analytics tools for users. Using the analytics tools of each platform can help an organization measure and demonstrate the usefulness of a social media platform, or highlight the success of a specific social media campaign.

    But it goes beyond organic tools. There are dozens of sites dedicated to helping users find out what people are talking about. These sites can help administrators gauge the success and reach of their social media message. We’ve used IceRocket and TweetReach to name a few.

    If properly executed, organizational messages and themes will appear in all posts, tweets, video posts and photo posts. When measuring sentiment, we watch user comments and posts to determine how the messages are resonating with the online population.

    It’s definitely an ongoing process, but measurement and analyzing feedback has made the Army’s Social Media program what it is today.

    1. Appreciate you taking the time to comment here Dale – thank you for your insights.

      The suggestions you offer provide a great start to establish that baseline – like you say, it’s an ongoing process which ensures success, hence why I’m keen to get it right first time ;-)

  2. I run the community/social media team at SEGA. We do use metrics like Facebook Insights, Omniture, Tweetreach, etc and they provide great numbers. But these, and “listening” programs like Radian6 and Brandwatch, simply cannot replace actual reading and participation in social media and communities. Also, they don’t solve the problem of having someone to interpret the data — if you (or more likely, the person you are sending your reports to) doesn’t understand the numbers and what they indicate, then you might as well have sent them a load of gibberish. I think people get too focused on the numbers sometimes.

    Community is about people. I am all for measurement and metrics — they provide valuable data to share with executives and help guide your decisions. But they are *not* the end all and be all. I really dislike programs that try to reduce my community to numbers and ignore that there are real humans out there.

    1. Brilliant to hear from you Kellie – great food for thought here, especially the challenge to be human in analysing and responding to those participating in conversation plus it’s not all about the numbers. Appreciate the guidance :-)

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