Lee Odden

10 Questions for Social Media Measurement Success

social media measurementIn order for companies to realize the maximum benefit and impact from social media marketing, the pre requisite for goal setting must be a certain level of understanding about the nature of online communities, social media sharing web sites and applications.  Unrealistic expectations based on a lack of knowledge about the social web is far too expensive to ignore.

At Search Marketing conferences, you’ll hear a lot about driving website traffic and links through social media linkbait – a SEO tactic that is distinctly different than what goes into building customer relationships. Companies like Proctor & Gamble are paying for engagement, not eyeballs.

Companies that want to take full advantage of better customer engagement, online word of mouth and influence on sales should ask themselves a few key measurement and related questions while developing a social media strategy:

  1. What goals do you hope to achieve from a social media marketing effort? What does success REALLY look like short and long term? This is according to the segments or divisions of business affected, not just the organization as a whole. Customer service success is obviously very different than Marketing or Public Relations.
  2. Are web and social media synced? How will current web analytics and other digital performance reporting interact with social media marketing analysis?
  3. What measures of success (KPIs and Outcomes) will be used? How are you defining ROI?
  4. Is there a strategic plan for coordinating and measuring social media efforts across the organization? Will these efforts work synergistically? In silos?
  5. What are current measures? Is the business conducting a formal effort at monitoring social channels using a social media monitoring/analysis software application? (Ex: Alterian SM2, ScoutLabs, Sysomos, SocialRadar, Radian6) Are different business units using different monitoring tools? Are analysis staff allocated to making sense of the data and reporting?
  6. Where to start? Is there a particular business unit, division or product that can serve as a test case?
  7. What’s the current tactical mix? Assess current social media activities: How long has the company participated with social media sites and which? Blogging, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Wikis, Delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc. Identify your benchmark measurements with relevant channels.
  8. Is a dashboard and social media marketing management tool used for content promotion?
  9. Moving forward, what will it take to transition from fragmented efforts to something more coordinated? Which “hearts and minds” do you need to win over for support to make it happen?
  10. Is there an internal social media council or group tasked with assessing social media strategy and how will their role affect defining goals and ongoing performance reporting?

Every company, division, product/service and their customers are unique. The questions above can provide valuable insight into a company’s state of social media marketing readiness as well as provoking new thoughts and direction. The more informed companies are about planning for the social web, the more successful they will be.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. This is a great list Lee.
    Everyday I tell people that what they should be measuring and their idea of ROI is going to be unique to their company. Because every company is going to have different goals for why they’re using social media it’s important to understand that what one company is doing to measure isn’t going to work for them as well. These are some great questions that companies can answer to determine what is going to work best for them.

    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  2. Great post. Too many companies embark on ‘social media promotion’ without even identifying what their goal of the campaign will be, thinking that adding like and tweet buttons to every imaginable traffic channel will give them measurable success.


  3. It is important to identify your goals and KPI’s before you do anything else

  4. hi,

    Really a nice useful tips

  5. Great starting points Lee. Thanks for sharing!
    Social media like any other forms of marketing activities should start with clear goals and KPIs. There is lack of understanding and standardisation in the social media landscape not from measurement but also planning and implementation point of views. However as Sheldon mentioned the ROI will be unique the company.

  6. Good reminders here, Lee. Companies can be very quick to say they want to be on X channel(s), but don’t take a step back to think about an overall strategy first.

    PR at Sunrise

  7. Avatar Mikko Rummukainen says

    I nearly cried when I read this post – out of happiness! Huge thanks for sharing these ideas, and I truly hope that as many prospective clients as possible would give this post at least a quick glance.

    “… the pre requisite for goal setting must be a certain level of understanding…” is exactly what we at Whitevector have been trying to underline, and from our experience, this has really gotten our clients thinking about how to approach social media in the first place.

    Especially since most clients understand, that taking the first step in the wrong direction can turn out to be quite expensive in the long run, and you will notice this while backtracking.

    So, thanks again and keep these stellar posts coming!

  8. Good stuff working on a social media bus launch now so super helpful!

  9. of course everyone agrees about the fact having the goal and being unique somehow is essential specially with lots of competition !!!! answering questions about who (and how) you’re addressing to is a key indeed !!!!!

  10. Here, i would like to share some things.

    Earlier, people came in search of products, companies, information etc. After the advent of web companies, product, information etc started reaching out people. That is the level of competition that marketing faces which Social media has turned around. Those are the difficulties that social media gave us.

    Also the positive things that social media gave us are: it gives the companies an opportunity to listen to the customers. Listening to the customers and knowing what they want and providing them the needs and competitive advantage is the best thing that social media offers us.

  11. If the growth of social media as a marketing platform is anything to go by, more and more companies are finding investment in the sector as a means of marketing very worthwhile.

    Obviously investment for the sake of investment is a mistake and some people may see mass social media investment simply as a result of people ‘jumping on the bandwagon.’ However SME’s as well as large corporations are finding social media a perfect route to reaching a huge number of potential and existing clients (sometimes all at once) with relative ease.

    In terms of statistical data Facebook is the Web property mostly commonly used in social media, with 85% of companies using this site as part of their marketing strategy. This is followed by Twitter (77%), LinkedIn (58%) and YouTube (49%).

    If anyone is interested in reading a full report (from which I obtained the above figure) check out this link and let me know if it helps you: http://ecly.co/b4rhaR