Measure Social Media Results

In our previous post, Don’t Sweat the Social Hierarchy, we enlarged on our theme from Social Media is the Megaphone and talked about social media as a conversation among equals. In this post, we begin to explore the topic of social media metrics.

ChartAttributionShare AlikeSome rights reserved by Guaravanomics

Measure Results

“The social medium creates many artifacts, or digital breadcrumbs,
that are directly measurable as people participate.
It isn’t just a medium with a message,
but it is also a medium which contains and records actions.”

Marcel LeBrun, CEO, Radian6

As part of your engagement plan, you determined what success looks like, and how to measure it. Without this key exercise, you can easily waste lots of time and money on ineffective use of social computing.

It’s often said, if you can measure it you can manage it, and it’s true. You’ll meet many people who insist that you can’t measure the value that social media brings. These people are only right in a sense — you can’t use many of the old measurements designed for traditional media, and you may need to modify some (cost per thousand impressions or CPM, for example) to make them work with social media.

However, the idea that the online environment — the first man-made environment in history that can totally close the loop between causation and result — is somehow not measurable is dead wrong.

We’ve discussed previously  the idea that half of advertising is wasted. And it’s a crying shame that a fraction of a percent of direct mail has the intended result. Why do others pre­fer these media? Because they’ve managed to achieve predictable results due to a mature measure­ment system. A marketer we know said, essentially, “I know if I drop $75,000 on a direct mail campaign I’ll get a sales bump of X percent. I don’t know what my investment in social media buys me.”

It’s true. The field of social media measurement is in its infancy compared to the giant, mature adver­tising industry. But there are still very good ways to measure your success.

Measure Social Media Results is the 37th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?, Social Sites Defined, Why Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

Next up: Why Should You Track Social Mentions?