What are you measuring?

Thinkstock Single Image SetOver the past year social media has taken up valuable real estate in the toolboxes of many a PR pro. However, many pros still face hurdles selling the utility of social media to their company or clients.  Managers and clients want to know why it’s worth paying an employee to Tweet away all day. For the most part, there is a struggle to pull relevant numbers that reflect the value of social media.

There are many metrics that can be tracked to show success, but the total number of fans and followers is not one of them. The main reason is that any bot can attain large numbers of followers for a small amount of money. These followers are often other bots, not potential customers. Then what should you track?

My favorite metrics include

  • SIM (social influence marketing) score
  • Conversation share
  • Net promoter score

There are plenty of social media monitoring tools out there to help you capture these metrics; I will not name names as the comments of this blog will be flooded with the companies hawking their wares, click here to see my reviews.

SIM Score

SIM score was created by the team over at Razorfish. The metric allows you to evaluate how your brand is perceived and discussed by the influential talking heads on the Web in comparison to the industry and your competition. The equation is net sentiment for the brand over net sentiment for the industry. The formula pulls all of the important measuring sticks of conversational media into account and gives a good view of how you stack up in the industry.

Net promoter Score

Net promoter score (NPS) is a metric that gauges the likelihood of whether a customer will recommend your company to a friend or co-worker. Traditionally this metric is produced by surveying customers, however SM tools allow you to see the positive and negative mentions in real time so you have to do some tinkering to get the number. For example positive mentions are scored 1, neutral are 0 and negative are -1. Pulling all of these together will give you an equated NPS for your company – again, put these next to your competition to see where you stand. The higher the score, the better, contests and other social campaigns may help inflate this number during their duration as well.

Conversation Share

This metric is perhaps the simplest on the list of metrics.  You don’t need a pay service tool for it.  You can also pull traditional PR into the mix.  Whether you’re using Google alerts or a tool, simply tally the total number of mentions for the your client or company  and its competition and put them into a nice graph in Excel to see how much of the industry conversation relates to your brand. This also allows you to see what moves the needle as well as awareness of your brand against major competitors.

All about the Benjamins

While the previous three metrics are socially related, they are still based on a medium that executives don’t fully understand. A simple way to make these metrics easier for big wigs to digest is to add a metric that they do understand – revenue. Since many conversations convert to a purchase, companies should create special offers or coupon codes that can be tracked back to the referring network. While tracking revenue is great to show value, mapping it to these other metrics can identify trends or campaigns that help show what moved the dollar needle.

These are just some innovative and useful metrics that I’ve seen. It’s up to you to decide what works best for your company. Are you using something different? Here are some more options that were discussed on #pr20chat last week

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  • Jeff this is UNBELIEVABLY helpful. One of the problems I've been running into lately is, once I narrow down what we should be measuring, finding the right tool to measure it! Your input on this makes all the difference.

  • jeffespo

    Glad to help Teej. Feel free to tap me for any questions you have.

  • OnlinePRNews

    Thanks for putting this all together Jeff! As social media becomes more and more a 'given' part of any online marketing campaign, measuring its success is going to be pivotal! I'm going to take the time to check out all your links now…. — Tara

  • You know I adore this, Jeff!

    I love that all of the metric you provided are not only easy to calculate, but are still quite powerful and meaningful. Just showing how many mentions for a specific brand doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot, but putting it into context in a conversation score makes way more sense.

    So what do you recommend for tracking revenue when you don't have promo codes? That's where the big struggle is for me, I think.

  • jeffespo

    Any time Tara. Glad to help. Let me know if you need any help along the way.

  • jeffespo

    There are a lot of things running through my head on this.

    For Web – Specific landing pages – you can also use bitly or another shorter for stats of visitors to direct URL.

    For Offline – Add SM sites to surveys and how did you hear about us cards. You could also tweet out special Twitter offers that the follower has to print and bring to the store.

    Let me think some more on this and get back to you.

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