by Jen Radley
Before you start measuring the success of your social media efforts, think about your goals. What are you trying to accomplish or gain through social media?
Social media can serve a variety of purposes, from broadcasting news and information, to answering questions and engaging with a community.
You’ve probably already started interacting on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, depending on the type of information and the format of the content you’re sharing. You’ve probably also considered the audience you want to reach and the tools they’re using. So the next step is to think about what you want your audience to do with your content on these channels. Are you trying to get them to read, share, reply, click, or engage?
For most of us in Student Life, we try to measure engagement such as retweets or reposts, conversations or comments, likes or shares, and clicks. Questions we are often seeking the answer to are how many people are participating, how often are they participating, and in what forms are they participating?
One thing is certain; always try to avoid the traps!
- Don’t get distracted by traffic counts – these are not conversations
- Consider search terms/tags
- Explore the most influential spaces, at the most relevant times
The two most common types of social media measurement are:
- Ongoing Analytics: Ongoing monitoring that tracks activity over time. Necessary for keeping up with the overall pulse of general conversation about your brand and company. Once your brand tracking is set up, you can just let it run and check in regularly to see how everything is going.
- Campaign-Focused Metrics: Campaign or event analytics with a clear beginning and end. These metrics may help you understand the impact of targeted marketing initiatives and may vary from campaign to campaign, depending on your goals for each.
An effective social media measurement plan will likely include both ongoing and campaign-specific measurement.
Sample Metrics Model:
Don Bartholomew, SVP Digital and Social Media Research for Ketchum, and Richard Bagnall, CEO of PRIME Research U.K., suggested the following new Social Media Metrics Model that utilizes definitions that are rapidly becoming the standard for the industry.
After you’ve determined the metrics you want to focus on, you need to find tools that actually capture these metrics, and then start measuring. Some social media channels themselves provide some form of analytics (e.g. Facebook/Twitter), while in other cases you will need to use third party tools such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social.
Using all of your available resources to calculate and put data into context is the best way to track your successes. Whether that means using pre-populated spreadsheets from third party tools, looking at social network analytics sections, or even whipping out a calculator and crunching numbers the old- school way, don’t skimp out on measuring your data! It’s the only way to know whether you are on the right path with your social media efforts, and can greatly impact the way you operate moving forward.
Don’t just create social media goals – reach them (and prove it)!
Jen Radley is a Manager in Housing Services and a member of the Learning Outcomes and Assessment Committee