(Please note: This piece originally appeared as a free article in the late June 2016 edition of The Measurement Advisor newsletter.)
Social media and its myriad metrics introduced a whole new landscape of accountability to communications professionals. In the early days, it was exciting and interesting to watch how a piece of content would generate likes and shares. Or to see how just one tweet could bring you so many retweets or new followers.
Then Facebook and Twitter started adding metrics like “engagement” with their own specific formulas while platforms sprung up like Pinterest and Instagram that offered even more metrics. Thinking that they would make sense of this clutter, vendors emerged like Simply Measured and Audiense (formerly Social Bro) that offered even more metrics and the ability to slice and dice data a million different ways.
All of which led to mass confusion (and frustration) among professional communicators and their agencies. Most of them threw every metric available into a report in order to justify the time they were spending (or wasting) on social media. As a result, reports rarely contained comparable data, and none of them accurately reported the actual impact that a program had on one’s business.
Today, there’s a growing consensus among professionals that most social media metrics are BS. It’s a far more useful exercise to focus on meaningful metrics than to get overloaded with many. So to help cut back on any confusion (or frustration) you may have, here is a chart with 9 popular communications questions, social media metrics to address them, and how to calculate those metrics: