social media how toAre you looking for better ways to measure your social media activities?

Do you know if your social media efforts are worthwhile?

Social media measurement is one of the most frustrating challenges business face.

In this article I’ll show you three simple measurement strategies that can fit into one of your future campaigns.

Why Measure?

In order to measure the effectiveness of your social campaigns, it’s critical that you know your objective.

Ask yourself why you are considering including social media in your overall marketing campaign in the first place. How will your efforts impact your revenue and grow your business?

You’ll want to put a measurable outcome in place along with a timeframe in which to achieve the goal.


Always setup goals so that you can measure social media. Image: iStockPhoto

Now you can determine which social media platform aligns with your objectives.

For example, if you’re trying to reach a female audience and your business lends well to pictures and images, you might want to consider Pinterest.

If you’re a business-to-business brand marketing an upcoming conference, you’ll want to consider LinkedIn.

#1: Quantify Your Social Media Listening

“What you’re doing [on social media] needs to have impact. It needs to actually have revenue. And often times we try to make it fuzzy about that.” – Frank Eliason, Citi’s Director, Global Social Media (@FrankEliason)

Listening is one of the most often overlooked uses of social media, yet it’s probably the most important. If you’re not listening to your customers, you’re missing the point of social media.

But how do you measure listening and how does it impact your revenue?

In this example, we’re going to look at using Twitter to answer that question.

  • In Twitter’s search field, enter your business name.
    Twitter Search Field

    Twitter’s search field.

  • You can then select whether you want to view Twitter’s “top” tweets about your business, “all” tweets containing your business name or tweets that contain your business name from only those people you follow.
    Twitter top tweets

    Twitter search.

  • As you filter the tweets, look through them and decide whom you’d like to follow. These are likely either potential customers or your current customers.
  • Monitor their tweets on a daily basis. Engage with them, answering their questions, adding value and helping them whenever possible.

Twitter’s Advanced Search is powerful too, especially if you’re a local business. You can use it to search specific terms related to your business that people who are near your location are talking about.

Twitter is an amazing tool for providing real-time customer service. You can learn things like:

  • Exactly how many people you’re helping
  • If you’re growing that number of people
  • The issues customers are experiencing with your business
  • What’s broken in your business

At the end of the measurement period, prioritize the problems you identify and use that intelligence to implement fixes and improvements within your business. You can measure the direct impact on your business by looking at the additional revenue or cost savings that these new fixes give you.

#2: Create a Rating System for Your Social Engagement

“Put a [tiered point system] in place rather than looking at how many likes you have.” – Scott Monty, Ford’s global head of social media (@scottmonty)

This is a simple yet effective strategy to use when you’re trying to generate awareness and buzz. It’s a smart way to measure the response to your efforts on Facebook, Twitter or any other social channel you’re using.

Here’s how it works.

Say you’re launching a product or service and want to build buzz about it on Facebook. You post an update to your Page about your launch and you get a bunch of likes on it. The next day, you post a different type of update. You get some likes on it, but you also see that people are engaging more with the second update by sharing the post and commenting on it.

Likes show support and comments indicate a deeper interest but shares are most valuable because they move the update beyond your page.

At the beginning of the campaign, translate your objective to a numeric goal. Then, use a tiered point system to weight different types of engagement according to which is most valuable to you.

Here’s an example of a tiered point system for Facebook:

  • Likes: 1 point each
  • Comments: 5 points each
  • Shares: 10 points each

During the campaign, a quick sum of values will help you determine if your efforts on Facebook are moving you closer towards your goal or not.

Oreo Facebook post

Assign a point system to likes, shares and comments.

You can create similar point systems on any of the social channels you use. For example, on Twitter, 5 points for a reply and 10 points for a retweet.

#3: Add Tons of Value, Then Sell and Measure

“Jab, jab, jab, right hook.” – Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee)

This strategy is the concept behind Gary V.’s upcoming book and it’s based on providing great content that adds tons of value for your customers before asking for the sale.

Corcoran Group tweet

The Corcoran Group, a NYC real estate firm, adds value via their social media outlets.

For example, say your restaurant is rolling out a new healthy menu. Your goal is to get 300 customers into your restaurant to try the new menu over an upcoming weekend.

Since your food is visually appealing, you develop a Facebook or Instagram strategy. You post pictures of your food, create content around the importance of healthy eating and curate information on your Facebook Page about farmers’ markets in your area.

Offer this valuable content to build trust with people.

Then offer a coupon for your restaurant on your Facebook Page. The number of people who claim and redeem your coupon is a result you can quantify.

Here’s how to measure your efforts when using this strategy:

  • Use the tiered point system described in strategy #2 to determine if your content is moving you closer to your goal.
  • Use coupons that are specific to your social media campaign, thus making the return on your investment easy to track and measure.
  • Create unique landing pages for each of your campaigns where your customers can download or purchase what you are promoting. Since the landing page is used for one specific campaign, this will allow you to clearly see how successful your campaign is.

I hope this article gives you some ideas for how you can simply measure your social campaigns and shows you that you don’t need expensive measurement tools.

What do you think? Can you improve the effectiveness of your social media campaigns with some of the above strategies? What simple strategies are you using to measure your campaigns? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Images from iStockPhoto.
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  • This a great post for measuring company and individual efforts. What I like the most is that you mention, “Now you can determine which social media platform aligns with your objectives.” This is the foundation, If you have a clear objective, you will eventually attract the right strategy.

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  • This is an awesome article. I definitely will use the tiered system as a tracking tool. Thanks!

  • Most people (businesses) do not know how to measure results nor what to measure. Your post gave visual appealing ideas – and offered simple effective steps. Thank you!

  • Rick Mulready

    Thanks Patrick. Yes, determining your goal is definitely step #1, otherwise, how do you know what/how to measure? Appreciate the comment!

  • Rick Mulready

    Glad you like it, Shelley! The tiered system is simple and effective.

  • Rick Mulready

    You bet, Ana. Thanks for reading!

  • Felicity Fields

    I’m always amazed at how so many people hop on social media and have no idea what they’re trying to achieve. This is a great framework to maybe get their juices flowing!

  • Rick Mulready

    Totally agree, Felicity! Thanks for your comment.

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  • I like the idea of a tiered ranking system for measuring social media engagement, and I agree that how each business implements it depends on the context of the campaign or the social platform itself, as you noted. For example, a RT might not be as valuable in cases where you’re trying to elicit specific feedback about a new product launch—a reply would be much more valuable. However, if you’re trying to spread the word about a new service, shares could be given more weight than replies. (And I’d want to try and filter “meaningful” replies as opposed to off-topic theadjacking posts which are all too common). Liking seems fairly passive and doesn’t seem as useful a measure of engagement.

    In the end, how you measure engagement will depend on how you define engagement in the first place.

  • Kate Phillips

    Great tips, Rick! I like how you break down how to “measure” progress in social media.

  • Rick Mulready

    Exactly right, Aaron. Nailed it. Thanks for chiming in!

  • Rick Mulready

    Thanks, Kate! Glad you liked the article.

  • Smart stuff, Rick! I definitely think the strategies you’ve listed are great ones for measuring social media results. Sometimes it’s easy to get really excited about a new product or service you’re launching, and it’s hard to not just start telling the world about it!! … just 1 little tweet? … but really thinking about what your objective is with social media is critical to figuring out where and how you share. Thanks for your post!

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  • It was a great article, I’m new on social media, and this tips are for sure a powerful help to starters!

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  • Hi Rick,
    In the end, social media results must be measured by figuring out what you hoped to see. What did you hope to accomplish with your social media efforts? How do you measure whether you achieved your goal? Did you end up with the result you hoped for and, if not, is there anything useful and repeatable about the results you did get? Thanks to Rachel Parker for sharing this wonderful post with the BizSugar community.

  • Great post, Rick!

    One simple strategy I’m using to measure certain traffic-based campaigns on social media is Google Analytics. Whenever I include a link in a post on Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms that points to a page on my site featuring a new tool, I check Google Analytics to see what type of traffic I’m getting and from what sources.

    Stay inspired!

    ~John Lee Dumas

  • A great post to read. I would say this is much aligned with the idea to measure ROI of your social media marketing efforts. It is very important for any marketer to define objectives, identify platforms, and drive a stable execution plan.However, I have one query…Can these rules be applied to all the social media platforms with same attitude?

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  • Great post and very helpful! Just a question though – is there any software that automatically generates these sorts of reports if you can input your own metrics/points values? Otherwise doing this manually could be quite time-consuming.

    Thanks in advance! Ellie/@TrufflePR

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  • Anna Pham

    Hi Rick, I am very impressed with your points about the measurement, however, I somehow think that like and shares are equally important and sometimes it is easiser for people to like than to share. Thanks for sharing.

  • Rick Mulready

    Hi Kate! Glad you liked the post, thanks for chiming in!

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  • Rick Mulready

    Awesome, Roger. Good to try and keep it simple when first starting out. Good luck!

  • Rick Mulready

    Absolutely, right Heather. Gotta know the “why” and then be able to measure your efforts to get there.

  • Rick Mulready

    Great tip, John! So simple and easy, yet still gives you some intel on whether your efforts are starting to be effective. Thanks for sharing.

  • Rick Mulready

    Thanks for the question. Granted each platform is unique, but it all starts with determining your goal, the best way to achieve it, and measuring your efforts to see if you’re accomplishing what you want. If you are, great, do more of what’s working. If you’re not, figure out where you can make improvements and re-focus your efforts.

  • Rick Mulready

    Thanks for your comment, Anna. It really all depends on what your goal is as every campaign/objective is going to be different. Likes and shares could very well be a metric that someone weighs equally for their specific campaign. Generally, though, sharing allows more people to see someone’s content, expanding the reach. So, for many campaigns that will be “worth” more. Appreciate the comment!

  • Rick Mulready

    Hi Ellie, great question. There are all kinds of paid tools that can assist you with this sort of challenge. Software like Radian6, Viralheat, Sprout Social, for example, are all great tools that can take your social media marketing and management to the next level. Hope that helps.

  • Hi Rick,

    Thanks for your feedback. It is more inclining towards doing experiments with different ideas. I completely agree with it. I strongly believe that social media really enable marketers to experiment with different ideas and to measure them.

  • Hi Rick,

    Great article! I used to work in Branded Entertainment and wish many a time we had established numeric goals for our campaigns. One question I had regarding the tiered system is how do you come up with the numeric goal you’re trying to reach if you dont know what’s a good benchmark for success when launching a social media page on Facebook or twitter?


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  • Jeff-andSharon Reed

    I can always find valuable information on this blog

  • Avy Scott

    Great measurement indeed. This share thing in promoting a product is really an awakening. Thank you for sharing and will surely use this tip in my small business online.

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  • van

    Thank you. This is a great post.I am launching a new product and would love to know the best way to do it.

  • Atwine paul

    Great article. Thanks for the insight..indeed ROI is a serious concern

  • Narein

    Very in-depth article… Enjoyed with the information provided…


  • chetna

    very informative post and also very easy to understand ,thnx

  • Natalie Wroblewski

    I’m currently writing a social media marketing plan and one of my challenges used to be “measuring effectiveness” of social media. This article reply helped out. Thanks!

  • Jasper

    Thanks for sharing.

    My first opinion

    I think most social media nowadays just give you some idea about how a post on your fan page is going be referring to “aggregated statistics” but not “individualized statistics”.

    For example, it shows how many likes, share, comments are there in total by considering ALL MEMBER AS A GROUP. It is “POST-ORIENTED”

    But I think what is actually needed for effectively measuring viral marketing is individualized, deeper measurement – i.e. Instead of being “post-oriented”. It should be “MEMBER-ORIENTED”. For example, given your facebook post in your fan page, Mary and Peter may have shared the post and commented on it differently. If I am a Facebook marketer, I would like to see the following:

    What are the member who have shared my post the greatest number of time in this week? OK. It is Peter. Now, I check all the comments about my page which he mentioned or shared to the others. I need to see exactly what Peter have shared or talked about my page with the others over the last weeks by referring to the exact wordings. Does Peter say anything good? anything bad? If so in what ways? In this way, the marketer can have more deep knowledge about Peter in terms of his Viral marketing contributions to your company. Being specific to the ways Peter used to spread message about you, you may even contact Peter to work with him to devise plans to market your company to his friends in a un-intrusive ways. (and you may give Peter low cost incentive as a return for him)

    So in this way, we do not focus on the your facebook post as a whole – i.e. not just the total like, share, comments on one post.

    Instead, we focus on EACH PERSON influencing other’s feeling towards your company by referring to exactly what they shared (exact wording comments).

    This is more deep and effective measurement on the viral effect in my opinion.

    My second opinion
    I think if you have an online store, you should try to include links to the check out pages of different products at the end of your facebook post to make it more convenience for members to purchase your products immediately after they are influenced by any the contents shared to them.

    What facebook should provide is the conversion rate from your shared post to your check out pages.

    For example, I see Peter is the person who shared most about my company last week. Next, I check which people Peter have shared my company to. For each person getting the shared content from Peter, doeshe click on the link to your check out pages.

    If so, then in your own web site, you can further check whether that people went to your check out pages actually buy the product. (For this part, you need metrics captured in your own web site)

    Combining the approach I mention in my first opinion and my second opinion above, the company can know the following:

    – what is actually the total revenue that Peter can bring to your company by successfully leading to other people click the stuff Peter share to them and subsequently going to your check out pages and buy a product. And how exactly how Peter does that to achieve such a result?

    It is a member-oriented approach to measure the effectiveness of viral marketing effort by each member of your facebook fan page

    My conclusion

    I think every social media (no matter it is Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, LINE Japan, etc) should give the statistics similar to that mentioned above to allow marketers to measure the viral effect – i.e. “detailed, member-oriented”

    But sadly, not all of them provide measurement to such a degree of deepness.
    What we can do now is to try make use of their existing analytical tool and make reasonable assumption, which may still bring certain uncertainty.

    As a marketer, I do want the kind of statistics I mentioned above so that things are more certain when I do analytics.

    What do you think? Hope we can take the opportunity here to keep discussing opportunity and concerns, getting insights, growing and learning from each other’s knowledge and experience on this topics. I look forward to hearing from you. 🙂

    Thank you for all of your time and reading my long-winded opinion.. And hope I have been making my points clearly enough. Thanks

  • Jasper

    Hm.. I think a major concern for the kinds of statistics I mentioned in my previous post is that people may be unhappy for privacy.

    Actually, I have though of 2 suggested solutions for handling the privacy issues:


    Solution 1.
    Give incentives to ask for member to opt-in.

    Solution 2.
    When the information is displayed to the marketer, the ID of the user involved are removed – E.g. Instead of saying

    ” Peter send the comment ‘This is a bad product. Do not buy it’ to Mary at 1st Jan, 2013 1:00pm “.

    It can say

    ” Person A send the comment ‘This is a bad product. Do not buy it’ to Person B at 1st Jan, 2013 1:00pm”

    In this way, marketer cannot identify the person and hence no personal data privacy issue. And the marter somehow can know more accurately how the viral effect is going


    Do you agree that they may be practical?
    Thanks again for reading

  • Liem Kevin

    How with Google analytic or Piwik I think it can be added for additional measure.

  • Matt Strutt

    This is a great article Rick – simple, straight forward and easy to implement!

  • Kiran

    Thanks Patrick. These are very simple to implement and effective ways to measure Social success.

  • Louise Howe

    Excellent article, Rick. For Twitter, you give an example of a point system for replies and shares. What point value would you assign to a “Favorited” tweet? (Our target market is college bound high school students)

  • Michael Bian

    very informative. thank you.

  • Hi,

    Really like the tired point rating system, never thought about it.

  • Nathan Brook

    Nice and informative post. Social media has covered a broad area and surely say that it can be a great source for promotion and marketing.

  • guptaabhijit318

    Nice collection of tools. I appreciate it that you provided some of the nuts and attach of the content in your blog post. These are very simple to apply and helpful techniques to measure Social success.

  • segun_bisi

    Great article. I will definitely incorporate this on my social media platforms! Having a goal and determine the platform you will find your target market is so true. And I love the analytic of using a tiered system.

  • EpicKeyz

    Thanks a lot!
    But i’m worried about tip #2. You say “use a tiered point system to weight different types of engagement”.

    For example, I’ve done 3 posts on my facebook fan page which summary have 30 likes, 15 comments and 10 shares. Using a tiered point system, i have 30*1+15*5+10*10=30+75+100=205 points. How can i understand it’s a very good or a very poor?

  • Bondi

    Do any of you actually do this for real? What you measure should be based on your objectives for being in social media in the first place, otherwise how do you know you are succeeding and meeting your objectives? The tier system – whilst it sounds logical, unless you have a way of automating this it would be tedious – especially if you get a lot of engagement. True Social Metrics does most of this for you and is invaluable.

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  • Joseph C. Goolsby

    Some really nice guidelines. I’ve been prepping to launch one of my products for some time now, laying the foundation to blast off my social campaign and this is just the thing I am missing – ways to measure the campaign’s performance.
    Thanks, Rick!