August 2010: Four Metrics Categories for Measuring Social Media

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Ok,
the Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn sites are up. There’s lots of
activity. Customers are engaged. Judy the Intern can barely keep up.
Even Skip in sales said he got a few qualified leads.

You
know in your gut this social media channel is working. But you just
can’t put your finger on it. Don’t worry. Here’s how you start.

B-to-B
Magazine’s “2010 Outlook” revealed that social media marketing will be
of rising importance for business-to-business (B2B) marketers. The study
also found that website, e-mail and search spending were at the top of
the list for online tactics to increase, but social media was not far
behind. Six in 10 B2B marketers planned to increase spending on social
in 2010.Today, success in the social channel is mainly measured through Web traffic, response rates, and qualified leads.

While these may be viable metrics, like any initiative, the
metric and performance target should be tied to the business outcome
you’re addressing. And rather than looking at social media as a broad
brush stroke, we recommend linking social media programs to specific
marketing objectives in order to monitor whether the program is having
any impact and ascertain whether adjustments are needed. However if
this isn’t possible, then your social media marketing metrics should include something from each of the following categories:

1. Activity Metrics:These
are metrics associated with counting things such as posts, page views,
visitors, active contributors, connections between community members,
number of community profiles, rankings, frequency and number comments,
etc. Anything that measures activity associated with the social media
effort. Select metrics that are relevant to the purpose for social media
efforts in the first place.

2. Lead Generation Metrics:
These are traditional lead metrics such as cost/lead or community,
number of leads/time period, ratio of qualified to non-qualified leads,
lead conversion, etc.

3. Customer Engagement/ Relationship Metrics:
These metrics are beginning to take an outcome orientation and focus on
metrics such as affinity, referral, user generated content, content and
connection relevance, new product ideas, new product adoption rate from
social media idea vs. traditional sources, etc.

4. ROI Metrics:
While it might not be easy to get to a financial ROI, you can begin to
assess whether the social media efforts are achieving their results and
the value as a result. To do this, you will first need to know which
needles you want to move and be able to track the impact of your social
media efforts against this target. So choose relevant metrics that
reflect specific business initiatives. For example, specific business
targets might be increasing offline sales by x amount, or increasing
demo downloads by a certain percentage within a specific time period, or
usage of special promotion offers. If you can know the value of this
additional traffic then you can begin to quantify the value derived from
the social media effort.

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