Social Media Metrics

tracking social media metrics If you want good social media metrics to track, be sure to pick the right ones. A quick disclaimer: it depends what you’re hoping to accomplish as to which metrics you might want to track. I’ll give you my take, and what we tend to work from at New Marketing Labs, and then you’re welcome to point out different opinions in the comments section.

Social Media Metrics?

First, which metrics from social media do you think are important to begin with? Does # of friends or followers matter? It’s a yes-and-no kind of answer, to be truthful. I have 150,000+ Twitter followers at the time of this post. But if I ask them to take action, only about 200-300 take action at any given request. Pretty low percentage, right? And yet, because I have that many followers, the chance that my post will catch someone’s eye is higher than not, so I can’t completely poo poo the metric.

And that’s the first problem with social media metrics. A YouTube video with a million views has a bit more social proof than a video with 1,000 views, but beyond that, who cares? Did someone take an action based on the video? Did they type in the URL you flashed on the video? Did they follow through and do whatever you asked? The answer is almost always no. And yet, something being seen a million times means that’s 999,000 more chances than the other video of getting to the “right” person.

The social media metric that I think does matter and that is difficult to fully qualify is sentiment: the positive or negative mentions of a brand, product, service, whatever. Companies like SAS (a client), Radian6 (sometimes a client and I’m an advisor), and many more track sentiment as part of what they do. This metric is very useful when applied to customer service metrics. If you know the perception and sentiment behind a perception, then you can work to correct it. This becomes a value, and it’s something you can put effort behind.

Ones I’m not so sure of:

  • Comments – it’s great that people comment. It shows some level of engagement. Did anyone buy?
  • Bookmarks, tweets, retweets, likes – it’s useful because it shows whether information spreads well and on which kind of media, but again, there’s not as much of a call to action inherent in that metric. Use it, but use it as a way to test your marketing, not as a way to test the results of the product/service.
  • Pageviews – again, it shows someone showed up, but if they didn’t do anything, I don’t care as much.

Metrics I DO Like

I like sales. Can you track dollars from your links?

I like leads. Can you track number of raw leads?

I like members. Can you count members, who then might be further massaged into leads?

Those are the metrics I think have some value, at least from a business perspective.

Your Mileage Will Vary

It depends what you’re trying to do. If you’re looking for more donors, then I don’t think 1 million views of a video translates well into donors. If you’re looking for more exposure for some product, then maybe it doesn’t matter how many leads you get, if you’re hoping just to get seen. So, don’t consider this all law. Just consider it another way to view thoughts on metrics and which ones work and don’t for you.

In other words, make up your own mind, but don’t ever let someone sway you that there are “official” social media metrics that you must/should/need to track.

Thoughts?

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  • http://www.thesecuritywebsite.com/ Security

    This is also case with me there are lot many twitters to follow me but when it comes to participation very less are there who really gets interested and takes action.

  • http://www.thesecuritywebsite.com/ Security

    This is also case with me there are lot many twitters to follow me but when it comes to participation very less are there who really gets interested and takes action.

  • http://www.auto-my.ro/piese-auto piese auto

    I think this no must be mesured. Time in this zone isn t so important.

  • http://twitter.com/cksyme Chris Syme

    This reminds me that because the social interface has changed (mass media’s decline and social media’s rise), it’s more important to find the influencers and get to them than it is to have mass appeal. Yeah, I think a million Twitter followers increase your chances of action, but 15 of the right followers will increase the chances a lot more people will take action. Shades of Groundswell and Malcolm Galdwell’s Tipping Point–you need those mavens, connectors and salespeople.

  • http://twitter.com/cksyme Chris Syme

    This reminds me that because the social interface has changed (mass media’s decline and social media’s rise), it’s more important to find the influencers and get to them than it is to have mass appeal. Yeah, I think a million Twitter followers increase your chances of action, but 15 of the right followers will increase the chances a lot more people will take action. Shades of Groundswell and Malcolm Galdwell’s Tipping Point–you need those mavens, connectors and salespeople.

  • http://twitter.com/garious1 Garious

    Gee, I think checking out your tweets isn’t enough for me that I have to go to your blog and read more. I believe you’re talking about conversion rate optimization here? Metrics can be misleading and if all those visitors/fans/followers don’t convert to cash, you’re missing a big piece of the social media jigsaw puzzle. I love your honesty here. I hate it when people promise the holy grail of something that moves in a speed of click or type… or whatever you call it these days.

  • http://twitter.com/garious1 Garious

    Gee, I think checking out your tweets isn’t enough for me that I have to go to your blog and read more. I believe you’re talking about conversion rate optimization here? Metrics can be misleading and if all those visitors/fans/followers don’t convert to cash, you’re missing a big piece of the social media jigsaw puzzle. I love your honesty here. I hate it when people promise the holy grail of something that moves in a speed of click or type… or whatever you call it these days.

  • http://funestrat.com Gawed

    Chris,

    First of all thanks again for your great input and your candidness. It’s great to know you help great companies like Radian6 do things right. We’re lucky to have you in the social business ;)

    I’m not sure that sentiment is one of the main things to look at, or rather, I think that lots of companies are not getting the right idea by sentiment. In my experience all they wanna see is how much % talked good or bad about them and try to correct that. Is that really a meaningful and useful purpose? or should we talk about something deeper than sentiment, something that no automatic analysis (even Radian6′s ) can do: really understand the tone and origin of every single conversation we analyze. Is it necessary to segment them in positive or negative? or is it more important to have a human analyzing where the conversation comes from and finding ways of converting it, whether positive or negative, to useful actions or revenue for our company?
    I’m not trying to make a definite statement here but it is just that in my gut something naggs me about the whole “sentiment” thing being too superficial or missunderstood. hopefully I could get a chance to talk more about this with you (if you in any level agree with me) and try to go deeper in the definition?

    thanks for the post!

    Luis Fer Mtz
    Social Business Analyst
    @gawed
    @radian6 LATAM reseller through @Solvis

  • http://funestrat.com Gawed

    Chris,

    First of all thanks again for your great input and your candidness. It’s great to know you help great companies like Radian6 do things right. We’re lucky to have you in the social business ;)

    I’m not sure that sentiment is one of the main things to look at, or rather, I think that lots of companies are not getting the right idea by sentiment. In my experience all they wanna see is how much % talked good or bad about them and try to correct that. Is that really a meaningful and useful purpose? or should we talk about something deeper than sentiment, something that no automatic analysis (even Radian6′s ) can do: really understand the tone and origin of every single conversation we analyze. Is it necessary to segment them in positive or negative? or is it more important to have a human analyzing where the conversation comes from and finding ways of converting it, whether positive or negative, to useful actions or revenue for our company?
    I’m not trying to make a definite statement here but it is just that in my gut something naggs me about the whole “sentiment” thing being too superficial or missunderstood. hopefully I could get a chance to talk more about this with you (if you in any level agree with me) and try to go deeper in the definition?

    thanks for the post!

    Luis Fer Mtz
    Social Business Analyst
    @gawed
    @radian6 LATAM reseller through @Solvis

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      I look at sales more than any other metric. It’s how I’m paid most times.

      • http://funestrat.com Gawed

        Finding ways to convert conversations in transactions is certainly one of the main things to do. Sales being the main transaction sought by. What other transactions can there be is exactly what you say that there will be no single right answer for all companies. And how many of these transactions are really relevant or achieved by staying at the positive – negative sentiment level in metrics? my opinion is that very few if any.
        Companies need to focus less on sentiment, agencies should try to go deeper than that in their “social media services” and really try to achieve meaningful results beyond just good PR for the clients. I get it a lot: we just want to be able to measure mentions and sentiment. really? is that all a client will need to really engage in true social business? I think not.

      • http://funestrat.com Gawed

        Finding ways to convert conversations in transactions is certainly one of the main things to do. Sales being the main transaction sought by. What other transactions can there be is exactly what you say that there will be no single right answer for all companies. And how many of these transactions are really relevant or achieved by staying at the positive – negative sentiment level in metrics? my opinion is that very few if any.
        Companies need to focus less on sentiment, agencies should try to go deeper than that in their “social media services” and really try to achieve meaningful results beyond just good PR for the clients. I get it a lot: we just want to be able to measure mentions and sentiment. really? is that all a client will need to really engage in true social business? I think not.

  • Maureen

    Thanks for another great post, Chris. I’m reading “How to Make Money with Social Media” by Jamie Turner and Dr. Reshma Shah right now and it covers this topic in depth. They break things down into bite-sized chunks that really make measuring social media easy. I was always confused about how to measure and track social media until I had an opportunity to read the book. Thanks again for all your great content on your blog, Chris. It’s one of the best out there!

  • Maureen

    Thanks for another great post, Chris. I’m reading “How to Make Money with Social Media” by Jamie Turner and Dr. Reshma Shah right now and it covers this topic in depth. They break things down into bite-sized chunks that really make measuring social media easy. I was always confused about how to measure and track social media until I had an opportunity to read the book. Thanks again for all your great content on your blog, Chris. It’s one of the best out there!

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  • http://www.alexdumitru.com Alex Dumitru

    The problem with action is only a few of them are online exactly when you tweet. And in a few minutes, your tweet gets lost through all the other thousands.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for a great post. I think I agree that generating leads is the most important thing we can do with social media, many of the other metrics are part of the journey towards getting those leads and certainly we should consider every subscriber to our mailing list and every ‘Like’ of our page a potential lead. The next step of course is to find ways to convert them.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for a great post. I think I agree that generating leads is the most important thing we can do with social media, many of the other metrics are part of the journey towards getting those leads and certainly we should consider every subscriber to our mailing list and every ‘Like’ of our page a potential lead. The next step of course is to find ways to convert them.

  • http://twitter.com/jasonrippy Jason Rippy

    In my experience there have been times when using a social media tool where sentiment can be wrong that the positive or negative mentions are not classified correctly. However when you have waited through the post and fixed these problems you do find that most the post are just comments, tweets, and retweets. I agree with you i the fact that these usually do not always show you if anyone buy your product. But for my role thats not what I am looking for. Great quote “n other words, make up your own mind, but don’t ever let someone sway you that there are “official” social media metrics that you must/should/need to track”

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  • Vargaslmv

    Thank you for the shout-out! Always appreciate it. And yes, sentiment is a useful metric to track, but it is important to look at the results in aggregate.

    Lauren Vargas
    Sr. Community Manager at Radian6
    @VargasL

  • http://www.blackfridayplanet.com/ William Hushburn

    Number of friends for me is a good way to start.

  • http://artsunknown.blogspot.com/ ArtsUnknown

    I think the big problem with measuring ‘sentiment’ in Social Media (Radian6 et al) is twofold.

    1. Their search parameters are hard coded and therefore can never be nimble enough to track real time data with any degree of empathy for human behaviour

    2. Because of this hard coding, they cannot take into account regional or temporal variance in manifestations of sentiment. For example if a 16-year-old from central London described a product or service as ‘bare nang’ how would Radian6 qualify that? Incidentally, ‘bare nang’ is about the highest praise a brand could have hoped to have received from that 16-year-old, but because there’s no way to hard code for regional vernacular, this sentiment, and potentially thousands like it, could not and would not be measured.

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  • http://www.2ndhalflounge.com Doug

    Chris, I’m new to the game. Really helpful post. Thanks. Been trying to establish which metrics I believe mean the most. Question … has it changed for you over time? Thanks again.

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  • Sudhamathi

    I find Factualz very helpful in tracking all conversations about our product and competitors. One cool feature is that you could create profiles with specific questions like “Negative nutrition related discussion on McDonald’s” and it can provide with relevant buzz about it with automatics sentiment analysis.

  • Champa

    This is super interesting especially for someone like me who is new (2 years and running) to the world of Social Media. The idea of metrics is one i’ve never heard before but it seems like a great way to sit and understand how to completely utilize the world of Social Media!

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  • Natalie

    I could not agree with you more. Unless one has a consumer product, how does a tweet return a sale? The metrics are faulty in so many areas. I think that many social media sites can be used to hurt a business and so also to correct misconceptions or make your case in rebuttal, but I have yet to see many sales generated from a tweet about Business Intelligence Software for instance.

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