Social Media Metrics – What Does Success Look Like?

An old but wise saying is: “what gets measured gets done.”  The corollary is, measure what you want to DO. Many organizations are using social media to connect with customers – the best ones know what success looks like in the long run.  To move towards this approach, take a look at the current metrics and analytics you assess and take action on. How tightly aligned are these metrics to your business goals, and how could you make the connection tighter?

Here are two examples of scenarios:

First, many social media managers have a goal of increasing followers or the number of people that take some action on social media, like visiting a site or sharing content. Why are those metrics important? What business goal do those metrics support and how will you know that there is a truly meaningful relationship between the metric and the end game?  Does your number of followers align with sales in a certain demographic or for a certain product?  How will you find that out?  What impacts do you see from having more followers – do these impacts match your intentions?

Second, another goal for many social media managers is to “shift the conversation” – to convert negative press or consumer anger to a more positive tone. Measures in this area are generally associated with positive/negative message tracking, and a focus on positive message amplification. A great question is: are your shareholders and customers connected with those conversations, and do they care?  Will social media engagement actually reach and impact the perceptions you count on to buy your goods and services? If not, how will you reach them differently?

Experimenting with different social media metrics and analytics will help you discover more links between data and goals. Your social media dashboard is just one more index in a broader organizational dashboard that assesses communication and reputation management. Linking social media metrics to business goals will help keep you aligned for success.