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Measuring Social Media

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"How do you measure social media programs?"

You know, I try not to, it’s a buzz kill. I’m kidding…

 

This question surfaces all the time. It’s hands down one of the biggest challenges we marketers face, but come on, it’s not impossible. Yeah, we need better weights and measuring sticks for new media — they will come — but don’t let that stop you from adapting and customizing an approach that works for your business.

 

There are three things you should think about when it comes to measurement, each I’d argue are equally important:

 

Outputs

Pretty self explanatory, right. Is content being created? It could be a blog post or a forum topic or a video, you get the gist. Try not to get too hung up on the "how much" part of the output. Focus instead on the quality and relevancy of what’s being produced and the utility of the medium for you and your customers.

 

Outgrowths

Again, pretty simple. What stems or grows from the content that was created? It could be comments, links, tags, diggs, votes, etc. How people choose to participate with the content will vary so try to think about the value and weight you place on certain actions — and how you might better enable them.

 

Outcomes

Basically, the net result or response to the first two things. It could be attention (influencers, media), amplification (memes), engagement (quality/quantity of comments), sentiment (positive/negative), this is where you have to simply interpret and weigh the shake out. And then compare your analysis to whatever the hell your goals were to begin with. Oh, and then pray they line up.

 

Keep in mind, all of this is just one approach to measurement — an admittedly simple one for an increasingly complex web. I tend to think social media measurement will always be half science/half art, and maybe for that reason, always be a headache too, but hopefully this gives folks one guy’s framework to pivot and build on.

 

Related Post:

Social Media Measurement Deconstructed

 

[Cross published on Voce Nation]

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