I had the pleasure of speaking at a WOMMA event this past week, so I invited my friend and client Charlie Treadwell of Cisco to join me in an interactive session that covered a step-by-step process for taking your measurement strategy from measuring activity to tracking value against program objectives. The turnout was great, and I was fortunate enough to have a super-engaged audience, which only confirms my belief that many brands (and agencies) are still struggling to measure social.

Here is the deck that Charlie and I presented and the key takeaways from the questions we received from the audience.

Start with what you want to measure, not how you are going to measure it.

This is the most common mistake I see in the marketplace today—every marketer wants to know, “How do I measure social?” That’s not the question you should be asking yourself. What you should be asking is, “What are my social programs designed to do? Decrease support costs? Drive awareness? Acquire new customers?” Once you have the answer to this question, then you can begin to measure it.

What metrics you exclude are just as important as the ones you don’t.

Once you have a good understanding of what metrics are available to you from the platforms you are leveraging, begin to eliminate the ones that don’t tell your story. Just because a metric is available doesn’t mean that it belongs on your dashboard.

Measuring share of voice is useless!!

Well, not really. According to Charlie Treadwell, it’s not good enough to just point a listening tool at your brand name and that of your competitors. You need to set up a competitive listening profile that makes sure the results set has an apples-to-apples relationship with the conversations you want to evaluate. For example, if you were measuring the share of voice of Yahoo!, this month it will skyrocket due to the sale. Yahoo! didn’t do anything to drive that conversation (other than maybe try to positively spin it); people are just having the conversations because it’s newsworthy. Guess what will happen next month? That’s right—it will come crashing back down!

Should sentiment be included?

At the end of the day… no. The tools just aren’t good enough yet to make any solid business decisions based on 70 percent certainty. However, you can use sentiment in certain use cases, such as crisis management or targeted marketing campaigns.

How effective are you at measuring social? What steps have you taken to build a KPI-driven dashboard?

Brian Costea

Brian Costea