By this point most of you have already signed up for Facebook, opened a Twitter account and maybe even jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon. But what are you doing to track and monitor your social interactions? If you are engaging in social media, you should be measuring it. How else will you know how you are doing?
After reading a slew of books and blogs on the social metric topic I have come up with a list of five social-media metrics you should be measuring right now!
Volume is definitely the easiest social media metric to measure. What is the size of the conversation about your brand or your campaign? Measuring volume will give you a great indicator of interest. Whether the comments people are making are good or bad, they are still somewhat interested in your campaign.
Though volume can seem like a simple counting metric, it’s much more. Not only should you be tracking the number of tweets and wall posts you put out, but the amount of people talking about your brand. Facebook Insights has a metric (entitled “people talking about this”) that measures how many unique people have posted something about your brand. Measuring volume allows you to determine when people are talking most about your brand, and what they are most interested in.
The very concept of social media is based on the ability to reach out and connect with wider audiences and share an interactive conversation with them. Understanding the extent of that reach gives context to your social media efforts; the degree to which you are able to spread your message speaks directly to the size of your potential audience. A basic social media reach metric is something like your number of subscribers, followers, or members.
While knowing the size of your audience is good, it does not offer enough information. The reach of your conversation provides the framework with which to gauge actual engagement and response potential. By using a concrete social media metric (link clicks, re-tweets, Facebook ‘likes’) in conjunction with your potential audience size, you can get an accurate picture of actual distribution of information within the limits of a projected audience.
Engagement is the key to successful social media. If your message is sent to thousands of subscribers, but none of them read it or act upon it, your engagement value is zero. That is, engagement measures the degree to which people are actually participating in your social media conversation, and the extent to which your brand is being proliferated.
Most social media platforms offer some function by which you can measure engagement. Twitter’s re-tweets and Facebook’s sharing mechanism are both useful to find out who is spreading your content, and reply and ‘like’ functions help show who is responding to your content. At this point, it is important to have conscious goals for your social media. What do you hope to accomplish? Are you meeting those goals? Is your social media properly geared towards your goals? Make sure you are measuring with metrics that reflect the goals of your brand. Additionally, pay attention to what messages generate the most positive and brand-oriented response; social media can be unpredictable, and the appropriate answer might not be the most obvious one.
A counterpoint to the concept of engagement is influence. How much impact does your social media and its proponents have? Thinking back to metrics of reach and engagement, how effective is the impact of your brand on your potential audience? A large following on a given social media platform does not necessarily correlate to high levels of influence.
There are a number of ways to measure influence, and they all offer different approaches. We can infer based on past history and make assumptions about someone or something’s future influence. This type of potential can be useful in preparing the scope of a social media campaign. There are tools that exist that assign people influence scores and measure online social capital and the potential to influence others. We can also evaluate influence based on performance to discern who is participating in and leading conversations about your brand, and who is active in spreading your message to others.
5. Share of Voice
A final metric to consider is share of voice. Essentially, this is concerned with figuring out how much of the total conversation is devoted to your brand, or your product. How is your brand doing in comparison to your competitor’s? How much of the overall industry conversation is devoted to your brand? Basically, you want to know how big your piece of the social media pie is. Since social media is so open and public, you can easily track your competitor by the same metrics you apply to your own campaign. You can use the results to gauge your own campaign and determine if there is something that is lacking, or where you are having the most success.
The most important aspects of social metrics are consistency and preparation. Take your metrics of choice and apply them to your social media campaign, and be sure to calculate the numbers regularly, at whatever interval you choose. Track these numbers, and track any changes in them. The numbers will offer insight into any positive or negative changes in your social media campaign. This will give you greater control and understanding of your social media, and ultimately help you grow your brand.
Want to know your on-line influence?
Check out KLOUT. The Klout Score measures influence based on your ability to drive action. Every time you create content or engage you influence others. The Klout Score uses data from social networks in order to measure:
- True Reach: How many people you influence
- Amplification: How much you influence them
- Network Impact: The influence of your network