7 Tips for Effective Social Media Measurement

Keynote speaker Mark Schaefer at
PR News' Oct. 2 Social Media Measurement Conference in NYC.

It’s not easy to extract meaningful metrics from efforts on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. But the practice did get more clarity for about 150 communications professionals who on Oct. 2 attended the PR News Social Media Measurement Conference in New York City. There they learned effective measurement tips and insights from top social media practitioners from both the agency and in-house sides.

Good social media measurement is steeped in the process of setting goals, objectives, strategies and executing tactics, said Brad McCormick, principal at 10 Louder Strategies. But that only set the table for more granular pieces of advice. Here are seven tips gleaned from the experts that will help you more meaningfully measure your social media programs.

  1. Tools Are Secondary: Generally, people overemphasize tools, said Don Bartholemew, senior VP, digital and social media research at Ketchum. “Start with the metric you want, figure out what data you’ll need and decide on what tool will do the job,” he said.

  2. Have Insights: Facebook Insights can give you just about any metric you’ll need—especially for small businesses, said Maria Baugh, co-owner of Butter Lane Cupcakes. “Measure volume, reach and engagement of your campaign via Insights, then rinse and repeat,” she said.

  3. Aim Before You Shoot: Before you jump into a big campaign, build a community of high-valued brand targets. This is what Michael Torres, senior director of communications at Tropicana/Naked (PepsiCo) did before launching a successful Tropicana orange juice campaign.

  4. Build Relationships With Twitter: The National Wildlife Federation doesn’t expect huge traffic from its Twitter account, “but we do see good conversations coming from it,” said Danielle Brigida, manager of social media at the National Wildlife Federation. “Remember, Twitter is more about establishing relationships.”

  5. Don’t Let Your Videos Wither on YouTube: Keep monitoring views and engagement, and if performance is tailing off, replace them, said Lt. Stephanie Young, social media specialist for the United States Coast Guard.

  6. Stay a Step Ahead of a Crisis: Actively monitor not just your own brand's reputation on social channels, but the activities of your antagonist(s), said Dallas Lawrence, chief global digital strategist at Burson-Marsteller.

  7. Move the Social Media Needle: Perhaps Mark Schaefer, author of Return on Influence and the luncheon keynote speaker, summed it up best. To get the most out of social media, create meaningful content; surround yourself with relevant audience that cares about you; and be consistent in your engagement and in the sharing of content.

Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01

  • Lucy Tyerman

    Nice list of tips. I agree that you need to be fully aware of your objectives before engaging with SMM tools as it will make the process more efficient.