Marketer's Guide to SMM

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of posts on “The Marketer’s Guide to Measuring Social Media Marketing Engagement.” The first post was entitled, “Why Measure Social Media Marketing Engagement.”


Before delving into the details of social media marketing measurement, it is first necessary to establish the marketing objectives for social engagement. This is necessary in order to identify metrics that matter and the best way to measure them. Reporting results without defining objectives results in numbers that mean little in context of the larger business.

For example, let us compare the following two results:

Result 1:

“We received 5000 likes, 500 comments, and 10 shares last week on our global social properties, with 1000 likes, 5 shares, and 100 comments with 80% positivity (a 10% week-on-week increase) within the US.”

Result 2:

“One of the objectives of our social media program in the US is to foster customer interactions via social conversation, thereby increasing retention. Last week we received 100 comments on our US properties with 80% positivity, a 10% increase in positive customer interactions over the previous week.”

The reason why the second example is much more powerful, despite containing less detail, is because it identifies a social media objective that can speak to a larger marketing goal (customer retention) and focuses only on those metrics that support the objective.

We, at Origami Logic, recommend following these three steps when establishing a measurement strategy:

Identify high-level marketing goals for the brand, market, and campaign.

Establish a set of social media objectives that contribute to the above goals.

Define a measurement strategy that allows performance to be tracked against these objectives

One effective way of defining overall marketing goals is to classify them into customer acquisition, retention, and development (increasing customer lifetime value). Marketing goals may be defined differently for your business, but any set of goals will suffice, as long as social media objectives exist that can contribute towards these larger goals.

Below are some examples of social media objectives, along with their higher-level contribution.

Social Objective Chart

An important thing to note when establishing objectives for your social media efforts is to understand that high-level strategic goals are rarely uniform across the entire business. Their relative importance varies depending on brand equity, product maturity, market penetration, and other factors specific to the particular market.

For example, customer retention is of primary concern for an established brand in a saturated market, whereas customer acquisition may be the focus in a growth market. If the brand is redefining its brand image or revamping its line of products, customer development becomes critical.

Since marketing goals can vary for each brand, within each market, and even per product, social media objectives also need to be defined flexibly. The same applies to measurement and reporting. Different types of engagement metrics should be used to reflect differences in objectives and strategic goals across segments.

Types of Engagement Metrics

The abundance of metrics in social media is a unique phenomenon within digital marketing. While metrics of interest in most marketing channels are relatively few and well-established, social media metrics are diverse due to fragmented and proprietary nature of the networks themselves. What this means is that marketers need to establish their own standardized approach to defining, categorizing, and reporting on social engagement metrics.

The first step in organizing these metrics is to choose how to define engagement, or which metrics to use as indicators of engagement. Since there are so many metrics in social media, it is helpful to initially classify them into groups that represent similar actions. Digital marketing industry thought leader Avinash Kaushik characterizes the four best social media metrics as conversation, amplification, applause, and economic value. Of these four, the first three are engagement metrics:

Conversation: Direct or indirect replies to social content

Applause: Actions indicating agreement, interest in, or empathy with the content being posted

Amplification: Actions that share content to a wider audience

The classification is sufficiently broad to encompass social engagement metrics across most social networks. In addition to these, there are other actions such as clicks and video views which we will classify as Consumption.

Social Metrics Figure

When considering these types of interactions, one should be aware of the contribution of each type of interaction towards overall marketing strategy. Below, we list their respective impact based on the classification of the three high-level marketing strategies.

Applause creates goodwill with a low barrier to entry, contributing to customer retention.

Conversation promotes audience interaction, creating goodwill or preventing badwill. Positive conversations also contribute to customer retention and development.

Amplification is crucial for customer acquisition, since these are the only actions that increase the reach of messages beyond the scope of existing followers or fans. It can directly or indirectly contribute to customer retention and development.

Consumption varies in impact depending on content. Direct calls-to-action generally impact customer development, product-related messages impact customer development and acquisition, and informational and general interest messages impact retention.

Thus, the type of metric to focus on depends on an organization’s social engagement objectives, as described earlier.


Next in the series: How to Calculate Engagement Rate for Social Media Marketing

Marketer's Guide to Measuring Social Engagement


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