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The Social Media Metrics System

Data has been the Achilles’ heel of social media adoption since its inception. What do we measure? Where do we look? How do we figure out ROI? These and many other questions often arise when those who do not fully understand social media try to figure out “why” they should be involved. Let’s take a look at the two most popular channels and metrics that can help determine your success.


When it comes to Facebook, the metric looked at right away is Likes. It’s the most front-facing and sexy number on Facebook. It sounds nice to say that you have a bunch of likes. Unfortunately, it may be the most meaningless number for your brand. A Like shows interest, but it doesn’t show engagement. There are other measurements on Facebook that can tell you much more:

  1. Total Reach — This is the number of unique users have viewed content related to your brand. This is not limited to only your page. If you’re running ads or using Sponsored Stories, those views are included in this measurement as well.
  2. People Talking About This — This metric shows you how many people have created a story about your brand. Stories include:
    1. Liking your page;
    2. Liking, commenting on, or sharing a post from your Timeline;
    3. Answering a question asked on your Timeline;
    4. Responding to an event posted on your Timeline;
    5. Mentions within their own posts;
    6. Tagging your Timeline in an uploaded picture; and
    7. Checking into or recommending your Facebook Place
  3. Page Views — The number of times your Timeline was viewed by Facebook users
  4. Unique Visitors — The number of of unique visitors to your Facebook Timeline
  5. Application Installs — How old are the people consuming your information? Where are they from? This information is right at your fingertips
  6. Shares — The number of people who have taken action and shared your post
  7. Referrals — The number of people who have gone to your website from your Facebook Timeline (measures easily in Google Analytics).

As for Twitter, an early measure of success revolved around the follower ratio. For example, of four times as many people follow you than you follow, then you were doing great! Here’s the thing, isn’t the point of social media to be a part of a conversation? Don’t most conversations have at least two people in them? While there is some logic in not following too many people because it would be difficult to effectively follow a stream with 100,000 people, engagement and conversation are still part and parcel of the social media process. So, how do we measure our efforts on Twitter?

  1. Replies — The amount of people who have replied to your Tweets.
  2. Replies Reach — The reply multiplied by the number of followers the person who replied to you has
  3. Retweets — People who have shared your Tweet(s)
  4. Retweets Reach — The people who have shared your Tweet multiplied by the number of followers
  5. Hashtag Mentions — If you have the opportunity to create a hashtag for your brand, make sure you measure the amount of times this hashtag is mentioned. When people on Twitter use a hashtag, it shows intent
  6. Favorites — How many people have found your Tweet interesting enough to save it? This metric answers that question
  7. Other Mentions — Are you measuring when someone mentions your brand or one of your products or services? You should.
  8. Referrals — The number of people who have gone to your website from your Twitter profile (measures easily in Google Analytics).
  9. Sentiment — Are people saying good things or bad things about your brand. Either way, it is important to know.

All of these metrics help you monitor how people feel about your brand, what they want from your brand, what they like and dislike about your brand, what they expect from your brand and, most importantly, if your brand is doing a good job at delivering your brand’s promises.

Even though these numbers may not lead directly to your bottom line, they do help you determine ways to better serve your customers which will certainly affect your revenues. The key is for you to determine, for your brand, which metrics are most important. You should measure all of them, but by determining which the range of importance for each one, you can now begin to assign value to these metrics and from there you can figure out how your social media actions affect both your bottom line and your brand’s lifetime customer value.

The choice is yours. Be sure to take advantage of the numbers in front of you. They are sure to help.

Author bio: Gary J. Nix is a native New Yorker and a marketing specialist at a digital marketing agency. He can also be found expressing his ideas about brand strategy and general pop culture on Twitter at mr_mcfly.

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