When it comes to social media metrics, there are so many things you CAN measure that creating meaningful metrics for your social media program can be overwhelming. The key is to focus on the important metrics that get you to your goal.
Avinash Kaushik, the analytics guru, detailed his thoughts on this subject a few months ago, but we think most concrete social media programs should measure these three big areas to determine the success of your social media efforts.
Engagement in social media measures how the public interacts with a brand or product’s social media presence. This is the measure that most traditional marketing folks don’t understand, don’t value, and don’t think is a real measurement goal at all. In 2012 we should put to rest any remaining quibbles over engagement as a meaningful measurement for social media. Good engagement is the essence of a quality of social media program. Conversion rate is way to measure consumer engagement with a brand through their social media posts. Every post is a chance to engage in conversation and every method a fan/follower chooses to interact should be weighted accordingly. A “like” on a Facebook post would be considered a low level of engagement and a meaningful comment, share, Re-Tweet with comment or blog link would be considered a high level of engagement. Your weighted score per post in all social networks is your conversation rate.
Other forms of high engagement are included but not limited to:
- Blog post comments
- Facebook comments
- Linkedin conversations
- Google+ conversations
- Youtube comments
- Twitter Re-Tweets with comments
The level of engagement a brand has with their audience directly influences the total reach and overall impressions. Here is where marketers usually get stuck on the number of fans or followers and measure the success of their social media programs on these stats alone. But for every fan on Facebook who “likes” your brand page, there are over 250 friends of that fan that are one step removed from becoming aware of your brand. What’s the once step? It’s some form of interaction or engagement by your brand’s fan that will show up on their friends’ walls. Put more plainly: If you want reach with every post, then maximize the engagement of your content.
Subscribers, pageviews, and bookmarking stats give you a good picture of blog content’s amplification rate. Facebook puts total reach numbers on their Insights pages and there are new tools out there to get the total reach from Re-Tweets on Twitter. All of these data points need to be added to your existing fan total stats and the overall picture of your amplification rate needs to be balanced against your conversation rate. Getting a bigger audience doesn’t matter if they aren’t engaging with your content on a regular basis. Odds are they are using you for the discounts, special offers, and contest spoils you were dangling their way to grow your fan base. Stop giving away your product for fans and start creating better content that delights, informs and engages those fans over time.
Additional means of measuring amplification rate include but are not limited to:
- Number of fans on Facebook
- Total reach of friends of fans on Facebook
- Digg references
- Stumbleupon references
- Twitter followers
- Potential audience of Re-Tweets
- Blog subscribers
- Unique pageviews of blog post
ROI measures the economic value social media offers a brand. This is the Holy Grail of social media measurements and for some reason it remains elusive to too many brands. To crack this mystery it’s time to take some advice from Avanish on what you are really measuring. It’s conversions. For web analytics not all conversions are sales, but they are all meaningful exchanges that need to be measured and understood in the big picture. We call micro-conversions, those things that lead us to deeper engagement with a company and lead to a sale. For the actual purchases, the thing we are really trying to influence, we use the term macro-conversions.
For starters, do you know your consumer’s path to purchase? Odds are there are many, but if you don’t know how a consumer who downloads a catalog from your website differs from a consumer who friends you on Facebook, you won’t know how to value each micro-conversion. To get this picture you will need to build CRM system that can help give you a picture of how the micro-conversions and other touchpoints in your marketing mix, including social media, create a path to purchase for your consumer. When you know this path, you will know how the conversion rates of each customer and whether Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google +, or LinkedIn is working as effectively as possible to deliver ROI.
Micro-conversions include but are not limited to:
- Whitepaper downloads
- Submit for information
- Catalog downloads
- Email newsletter sign-ups
- Facebook contest applications and registration for exclusive deals
- Submit information for contact
With Conversation, Amplification and Conversion Rates working together to create a coherent view of your social media program, your marketing team can know what which site is best for elevating brand awareness, which space creates richer interaction with consumers, and what eventually leads to an increase in sales.