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Simplifying Social Media Metrics

Keith Podcast

Metrics are simply standards of measurement by which efficiency, performance, or progress can be assessed. Yet in social media it can get complicated quickly with amount of data and options of what can be collected and where. In this podcast, join Keith Quesenberry as we cover the basics of collecting social media data, tracking social media metrics and identifying KPIs (key performance indicators). We also consider how to link social media actions to business goals and marketing objectives for social measurement and optimization.

Cindy Greenglass: Keith, you have said that Social media metrics can quickly get complicated, can you explain what you mean by that?

Keith Quesenberry: Yeah, you know, just for example if we look at some of the top social media channels and what is actually available through their analytics programs, their insights programs. So Facebook insights, it can give you all kinds of data. It can give you metrics on page posts such as likes, unlikes, organic likes, paid likes, reach, engagement, engagement rate, impressions, demographic information. It can also give you detailed video stats including views for three seconds, 30 seconds, 95% of total video length.

Then you jump into Twitter. Twitter gives you similar information on mentions, follows and tweets linking to you, engagement rates, link clicks, retweets.

And then you get into LinkedIn and Pinterest and Instagram and they all have these very detailed, specific metrics. And it can get very overwhelming quickly and there's almost too much to measure if you don't kind of know what you're trying to measure and what you're trying to prove.

Cindy Greenglass: How do you make sense of all of those individual metrics? Where do you even start?

Keith Quesenberry: To make all that data actionable, or understandable, you have to understand the bigger picture and your unique business goals. Recent data says that over 90% of medium and large businesses have used social media in their marketing for five years or longer. Yet the CMO survey reveals that nearly half of marketers are unable to show the impact of their social media investments. They're still struggling to prove that ROI.

I think what's happening is too many of them are getting caught up in these smaller metrics. Like sometimes they're called vanity metrics, the likes, the comments the shares. So if you just start with your existing social channels and you set objectives to just increase our likes, comments and shares, then social media's just a self-fulfilling prophecy and you don't know if all that activity is actually leading back to your business objectives.

What you need to do is go back to the business and ask yourself, "What is ultimately success being measured upon? What is our business trying to do?" And it can be things like increased sales, or change the perception of the company. Perhaps you had a recent crisis and people, there was bad negative news about the company, you want to change that perception and you want to increase positive sentiment versus negative sentiment. You need to start there then work your way through to the unique specific social media metrics that are going to show progress towards those larger business goals.

Cindy Greenglass: What are some valuable tools for metrics?

Keith Quesenberry: One of the most valuable tools is of course Google Analytics. Google Analytics has specific social reports and these are especially useful in breaking down your social traffic to know how and which social media marketing is working best for you.

If you're not using a social media publishing and listening and monitoring program, you want to look at something like a Hootsuite. Or if you have a robust CRM, customer relationship management program like Salesforce, you can use their social media platform to really track this into your current customers and leads.

There's a new one that I just heard about that your public relations listeners may be especially interested in, it's called TrendKite. I think as a discipline, public relations has really kinda kicked off social media, kinda owned it. And then for a while here it's kinda been taken away from them with marketing and advertising people, and now they're coming back. I think a lot of public relations professionals are really trying to emphasize metrics and measuring performance. So this TrendKite has created a very robust measurement system where they're tracking not just impressions of your articles, but they're pulling it back to delivering traffic to websites and engagement and awareness, search engine optimization, how much did that earned media actually contribute to driving traffic to the website. It's not just the traditional advertising or digital marketing that's contributing to that. So it helps public relations really justify what they're doing in social.

Cindy Greenglass: What do you think the biggest mistake that marketers in general still make when it comes to metrics in social media? What comes to mind for you?

Keith Quesenberry: I think we're thinking too small and we just take an existing social channel and set goals for raising numbers of engagement numbers. I just feel like you have to think outside of that. You have to connect those social media actions to broader business goals from the beginning.

Or then you're backtracking later and you're trying justifying to management, the spending and they're going to be asking you questions like, "How much is a like really worth? And how do I know that that like translated into a sale?" Or you know, whatever they're looking for.

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