This post originally appeared on the oneforty blog. It’s being reposted here as part of my blogging portfolio.

I really enjoyed this recent post from @Forrester Research in which Nate Elliot previews his latest report on social media metrics. Specifically, the focus is on assigning social media marketing measurement within an organization. In the post, Elliot smartly points out that if you are defining success by “fans and followers” you’re doing it wrong. Social media measurement is most successful when it is tied to actual business goals.

Elliot’s breakdown of the metrics are very simliar to Jeremiah Owyang’s ROI Pyramid that we’ve previously explored. Community managers and social media strategists focus on “digital metrics” like clicks, fans, followers. Marketing and business executives focus on awareness and share of voice. Finally c-level executives focus on “business metrics” like revenue – aka dolla dolla bills ya’ll.

Here are the two charts:

Jeremiah Owyang’s breakdown of metrics

Forrester’s breakdown of metrics

I like comparing and contrasting both of the breakdowns. I think the recommendations for frequency on Forrester’s analysis aren’t what I’d do. Daily check-ups on number of followers doesn’t seem like the right use of time to me – I think personally think weekly is more scalable. (Perhaps he means daily or hourly check-ups on comments though.) On the contrary, to me it doesn’t seem like an annual analysis of conversions is frequent enough for the c-suite. Quarterly tracking of this at the least makes sense to me. After all, social media really is still new. Not all of us who live in this social media echo chamber and chug the Koolaid remember that sometimes, but it’s true! We’re still testing what campaigns work, and you manage what you measure.

Something I’d love to see discussed more in these reports and in blogs (maybe it doesn’t exist yet) is measurement of the money you save with social media. That to me demonstrates positive return on investment. Can businesses measure x amount of dollars they saved on support phone calls by taking care of customer service via Twitter? Can businesses save on recruiting costs by having their employees share job postings with their networks on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter? Can companies measure the time they save and increased productivity by using Yammer and having their employees communicate through instant message? (Hence, enabling the social employee with a tool like that versus them walking to the other end of the office to ask that question and getting distracted by the coffee room, the water cooler, their friend is the sales department along the way…)

It’s a can of worms to dive into, but I like to ponder it because that relates to measuring social media’s value beyond fans and followers and beyond the marketing department. That’s what a social business is: social media delivering value throughout an entire organization.

Another thing I’d like to see researched is how organizations are coordinating measurement between their agencies. Your PR agency is delivering you metrics like media value each month, then maybe you have a separate social media agency delivering another set of metrics like impressions and share of voice. How are these things being considered together to give a complete view of competitive analysis across not only social media but also with media placements?

Another thing worth exploring: There is a whole set of companies sometimes called Listening Service Providers that are a “tool + consulting” combination. The thing is, some tools and the analytics they provide have a steep learning curve. You have this new interface to work with, then you need to understand what all these graphs mean and then you need to get actionable insight from those metrics. Companies like Synthesio, Cymphony and NM Incite are a few examples where they offer not only the social media monitoring tool but also the team of consultants that analyze the data and offer recommendations to your team. Which organizations are using these and which team members are they reporting to? Also, how are the insights that these companies provide used in combination with agencies?

I’d love to open up the comments to you folks to let me know how you assign measurement on your team. Do you measure your social media marketing at all, and if so, what metrics matter to you?

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