Measuring for Business Results: Social Media

Social Media Measurement - ROII love when KPIs come up. The question of “How is Social Media driving results in my organization?” or “That’s a great strategy and all, but how will it make me more money?”

The crux of KPIs and ROI on social media is simple: What is the return?

The crux of KPIs and ROI on social media is simple: What is the return? meaning what is a conversion? Is it a sale, is it a lead, is it traffic, is it community growth, or is it community engagement? All are great measurements, but what is the organizational value that social media can provide. The more you can drill down to Social Media activity directly or indirectly producing a monetary result, the more defined you ROI calculations and KPI forecasting.

First things first… what are your conversions?

Looking at what you’re trying to accomplish on a business level will help you start with the end goal. Do you have product or service to purchase online? Do you have a lead generation platform? Are impressions the goal for your business? Do you simply want to expand your word to a broader community?

We need to identify the end goal, then work our way out to make our social metrics more tangible. I like to segment conversions by direct, indirect, and tertiary.

Direct could include Purchase.

Indirect could include Lead.

Tertiary could include Traffic, Reach, Conversion, etc.

All very valuable for the organization and all very measureable.

Next how do we track those conversions?

As experience tells me, no two organizations are the same when it comes to conversion tracking. Some companies track through a very sophisticated analytic dashboard with help with Radian6, Google Analytics, or Omniture. Others, simply use excel… while others may not even track conversions.

Knowing what’s best for your company with the resources available is up to you, but knowing what to track is the first step. Then you’d simply have to set up a tracking mechanism to track the conversion (Direct, Indirect, Tertiary) with a source or influence back to social media activity (referring sites, campaign codes, tracking codes, etc). Then you can make the causal relationship between social media activity to the specific conversion.

Then what do we track in the social media space to deliver those conversions?

Now that we can see the conversions from the social space, we can see what activity drove that result. By tracking everything we can within the social space we can begin to find correlative and causal relationships from proactive activity, engagement, call to action activity, etc. that drives the results from tertiary through indirect then finally into the direct money making activity. It’s amazing to see what type of activity, content, or relationships drives various results.

Many variables are taken into account when looking into what is success vs. what is an opportunity. So many things to track and so many correlations to be made. Here is a very short list on what to track:

  • Community Growth (size)
  • Proactive Activity [# of tweets, blog posts, video uploads, etc]
  • Traffic to Blog (organic reach)
  • Traffic to Website from Social Media Source (influence)
  • Engagement Numbers [# of Retweets, # of Likes, etc] (influence)
  • Finally, Conversions from a Social Media Source (revenue)

Here we can start to see what activity and content is the most valueable to the community, but also what activity is necessary to keep the community engaged so when an “ask” is delivered, it is acted upon.

Finally, KPI development and Benchmarking:

Now with all our measurement and metrics outlined and defined, we can actually start to benchmark our activity to results allowing for a more in depth forecasting and KPI development. Tracking success in almost a real-time environment, the world of social media can be an exciting world once you get a grasp on what you want it to do.

ROI and KPI development in the social media world shouldn’t be a question mark or throwing darts at a wall and hoping for success. It should be a scientific model that measures activity, engagement, value, and, at the end of the day, business results.


Photo courtesy of Flickr:  writetoreply


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One Response to “Measuring for Business Results: Social Media”

  1. Dannie Hayden March 12, 2012 4:10 am #

    Not for nothing could be the motto TGIF – ‘Thank God It’s Friday.’ They live for the weekends, when they can go do what you really want to do.
    If you have to forecast, forecast often.

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