Tracking Social Media: A Strategic View

Social media moves fast, and you are never done. This can make social media tracking, with any kind of metric dashboard or analytics tool particularly challenging.  It can also put you into a reactive mode, where you spend more time tracking clicks than focusing on your overarching goals.  Here are some tips to keep your social media tracking in line with your larger goals:

  • Focus on the Strategy: Your organization’s strategy and goals should drive your social media strategy and goals.  Are you trying to increase your customer base? Increase the diversity of purchases by your existing customer base? Raise awareness of your service? Correct negative perceptions about your brand? Your goals should drive what you track and report on.
  • Clarify Roles: It may seem odd to talk about roles and responsibilities when talking about social media tracking, but analytics are not useful unless there are specific responsibilities associated with reviewing the tracked data, synthesizing the information into a “so what,” and then developing action plans to adjust social media delivery. A social media dashboard can’t tell you want to do next – you need the right people in the right roles at the right time.
  • Dashboards and Analytics: There are lots of social media tools available for aggregating content across different social media account streams. Other social media tools are better at producing metrics about user counts, trends, high performing posts and other aspects. Know your true needs and requirements and how they link to your goals before investing in technology solutions.
  • Decision Criteria: Every social media metric you generate, and every dashboard item you track, should have a set of criteria and “if…then” statements that drive the next step. If a campaign is successful, what will happen next? If a negative campaign is launched, what will the organization do?  Social media is a moving target – so know how you will move to respond.

Like all business investments, social media tracking, dashboards and analytics must all be grounded in organizational goals.  Strategy, roles and responsibilities, tool requirements and decision criteria are important elements of bridging the technical, social, and the strategic.