On the social media consulting side of our business at Convince & Convert, my team and I are frequently called in to advise companies on how to improve and enhance their social media metrics. These scenarios vary based on company size and type (as well as their social media activities), but typically I find 5 areas where social media metrics and reporting can be fixed:
1. Measure the Right Number of Social Media Metrics
Just because you can measure something, doesn’t mean you should. There is no shortage of data points available….don’t select them all. Focus on a meaningful handful of illustrative metrics, and track them rigorously over time, to see trends as they develop.
2. Tie Social Media Metrics to Business Goals
I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it:
The goal is not to be good at social media. The goal is to be good at business because of social media (click to tweet)
In addition to the typical, tactical metrics that measure reach and engagement, go the extra step and tie your social media program to customer behavior that really matters, like website visits, lead generation, sales (especially in an e-comm environment), and even important loyalty/retention measures like lift in Net Promoter Score.
3. Merchandise Your Social Metrics Reports
You’re not creating social media reports for yourself, typically. You should probably already know what’s going on, because you’re managing the social media program day-to-day. Instead, the reports are for other people in your organization, all of whom have tons of OTHER things that they care about beyond social media. Consequently, the reports you create need to be merchandised the same way you’d merchandise a sweet sport coat in the front window of Brooks Brothers – make it look sharp, and make it very easy to understand.
If your key social media metrics can’t fit on one piece of paper, you’re either measuring too many things or not merchandising the results properly. Here’s a little excerpt from a sample we created for a major corporation recently:
4. Compare Social Media Channels Head-to-Head
I recently participated in a Webinar with Expion, a terrific social media management platform for big companies (and a sponsor of this blog). In that session, Expion’s CIOAlbert Chou talked a lot about cross-channel social media metrics, and how to evaluate social platforms against one another consistently and coherently. In fact, I very much recommend you jump over to their website after this post and download all of the slides from the Webinar. Very worthwhile.
One of the key insights (and best slides) from this webinar on cross-channel social media metrics was the one below, that shows how you should be reporting and comparing similar behaviors across social channels. Even though the “sharing” behavior may be called something different from channel to channel, you should be measuring and evaluating them side-by-side. This adds a ton of clarity to your social media reports.
5. Calculate Your True Social Media Costs
We spend a ton of time figuring the output and outcomes of our social media behaviors, but comparatively little time calculating our true costs. Doing so isn’t particularly difficult, so why aren’t we doing this all the time? For example, if you have a 3-person social media team:
- Salaries + Benefits of all team members + Outside costs like software, agency help, social ads. Now, divide by 12 to get approximate monthly costs for social media.
- Now, assign a percentage of overall time spent in social to each channel. You may need to track your time to figure this out accurately, but you’ll want something like this: Facebook = 27%, Twitter = 18%, Pinterest = 10%, Youtube = 10%, Instagram = 15%, Linkedin = 20%. Now you know your approximate costs per month, per channel.
- You can then determine how well those investments are paying off, per channel, but looking at the comparative, cross-channel metrics chart shown above.
If you’re going to invest in social media, take the time to do social media reporting well. It will make you better at social, and will help garner appropriate support for your efforts internally. And don’t forget to download the slides from the Webinar on cross-channel social media metrics.