How Do You Measure Your Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is all grown up. Companies are budgeting for it and many believe that they get much more benefit from engagement on social media platforms than paid ads on the same platforms.

As companies develop content and engage with audiences, the question still remains, how do they measure the performance of the activity? Obviously different companies want different things. Some want traffic to a website, some want market intelligence, some want increased sales and on and on. Often, marketers pick a set of goals and throw as much “social stuff” against the wall as they can and then look for any kind of results they can find that will tell them whether what they are doing works or not. The problem with that is how complex social marketing can be with so many opportunities and ways to engage, it can be difficult to tell what’s actually working and not working.

It really helps to have a framework that can be referenced that allows users to plug in information and take the next logical step instead of a scattered approach. While it does not necessarily give you direct answers, it brings many disparate data points together to help the user make better informed decisions.

The following model from Social Media Explorer helps with that. It can’t be all things to all people, but it is a framework that can be used to organize data and make decisions and it’s a good start.

Here is a quick overview followed by a graphical representation:

Information needed from social marketing efforts.

  1. Goals for the Business – Begin with the end in mind. While most companies are different to some degree, there are some universal goals that most companies work towards like increase sales, optimizing marketing programs, cutting costs, gathering new product ideas, building brand awareness, etc.
  2. Metrics – Categories to be measured for each business goal.
  3. KPI’s or Key Performance Indicators – How you know if the metric is being reached.
  4. Channel KPI’s – Each social media channel has unique results associated with the efforts put forth so it is important to list what the channel produces. In other words, each different social channel will offer something potentially different for each general KPI.

Once the information is collected, next steps are:

  1. Develop effective ways to report the performance data because if it is difficult to understand or not read, it will not be that helpful.
  2. Dissect and analyze the data.
  3. Use the data to make good decisions and improve efforts.
  4. Take action based on insights gained on the data sets.

Take a look at the graphical representation of that process.


  1. says

    Hi Eric, excellent post thanks.

    One of the common mistakes companies make when trying to create their Social Media KPIs, is that they end up creating a long list of none related and resources intensive KPIs to manage. – This is partly due to the enormous amount of data from ever increasing sources in the social media sphere. I would suggest spending more time on those KPIs that provide key ROI information.

  2. says

    From our experience, KPI Managers create and manage social media KPIs that are non-quantifiable. The results are are therefore difficult to distinguish and what relates to the KPI and what doesn’t.

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