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Social Networking Guide | Measurement
Measurement and Evaluation

Measurement and evaluation are an essential feature of any communication strategy or tactic. Counting is easy, but measuring the success of a communication effort is more challenging. Effective measurement drives evaluation and resources. Establish realistic expectations. Acknowledge that it takes time to estalish a social media presence. Don’t tie the continuation of usage to arbitrary audience metrics.
Resources on measurement include Icerocket, Technorati, Google Analytics, Blogpulse, and CustomScoop.
The following actions can help you conduct an effective and revealing effort to measure and evaluate your use of social networking media:

  • Perform a communication audit across all products to understand the perception of the information consumer and identify inconsistencies.
  • Define measurement benchmarks through detailed and achievable qualitative and quantitative metrics.
  • Communicate the economic impact to leadership.
  • Study the success of past measurement programs.
Determine the effect you wish to achieve with your blog, Twitter, or other social medium. Find ways to track the effects of your effort on target markets, advocacy organizations and stakeholders, then follow up to address any deficiencies or unintended results.  Let the success of the plan and measurement shape future engagements, planning and budgeting. Simple analytics like counting hits, viewers and positive and negative comments are easy ways to show how new media can help define your “story” and will help your leadership see the value of what you are communicating. 
Search for Answers to these Questions

  • How much coverage did your social networking generate?
  • Did the right target markets get the message?
  • Did third-party spokespeople carry those messages to other venues?
  • How many bloggers quoted your article, or how many tweets came back? Were they useful? How many visitors read your blog?

Defining the Return on Investment in your Networking Efforts
Technology and market research analysts, Forrester Research, recently published some basic guidelines agencies can use to measure a blog’s return on investment. You can adapt these guidelines to evaluate your other social networking programs, as well.

 Possible Measure
Address stakeholder needs and interests
Number of posts/month; survey of posters
Attract untapped audience
Survey of posters
Increase media attention
Page hits, etc.; survey of media
Increase Web site traffic
Page hits, etc.

Blog traffic
Number of unique visitors, page views
Cost of advertising in similar content channel
Press mentions
Number of blog-driven stories by offline press, Web media, or high-profile bloggers
Cost of advertising in same publication
Search engine positioning
Percentage of search results landing in the first three search pages driven by blog
Cost of search engine optimization to improve ranking
Cost of paid search for blog-driven keywords
Word of mouth
Number of blog posts in a Technorati search
Number of people commenting on blog
Cost of hiring a buzz agent
Savings on customer insight
Number of times a year that blog comments provide useful business insight
Cost of a focus group or other market research tactic
Reduced impact from negative user-generated content (UGC)
Number of press stories that mention UGC
Change in Net Promoter Score or other attitude metric post-UGC
Historical change in sales associated with change in Net Promoter-type metric
Increased sales efficiency
Number of clients/prospects who read the blog, number of salespeople who read blog
Decrease in the cost of sales
From “Calculating The ROI Of Blogging,” Forrester Research, Inc.

Legend (yellow): 
Increased brand visibility