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.