Social Media Reporting: What Metrics Matter?

Author: Deidre Drewes

As a social media marketer, I recently underwent a rite of passage for our industry: researching and choosing a social media monitoring tool for my agency. As I soon learned, this was no small task. During the process, I learned a very important lesson: before finding a tool that fits, one must first identify the key metrics to be measured. After all, not all social media monitoring tools are built alike. Brands and agencies must first identify their key metrics before a tool can be chosen to suit their needs.

Wanting to know what metrics matter most in social media, I rounded up a few friends from social reporting agencies, online marketing firms and individual brands to offer their insight. What I found was some great insight as to what metrics should be considered by brands and marketing agencies alike.

Ted Rubin, Chief Social Marketing Officer, Collective Bias

“I talk often about ROR, Return on Relationship™ (hashtag #RonR)… simply put the value that is accrued by a person or brand due to nurturing a relationship. But don’t let that lead you to believe that I do not think metrics are incredibly important.

Defining metrics around social media marketing has been challenging enough that for a while many people said it simply could not be done. Now, however, we are learning that social media measurement (re: use and impact) is possible – just not always using traditional metrics and methodologies.

One of the most important ways to establish social media metrics is to set “conditions of satisfaction.” In other words, what are the specific outcomes that will bring satisfaction to you, your brand, your business, and your customers? Notice how the word “satisfaction” here requires you to think not just about actions, but about the whole experience resulting from the outcomes. This is absolutely critical for successful social branding!

Social media marketing campaigns need to be built on relationships, and metrics include words like “trust” and “engage” and “authentic conversation” and “online reputation” – all things that are at the heart of what a brand/company wants and needs.

Conditions of satisfaction around social media need to be different for every organization. They need to be based on the each company’s specific and unique GOALS and VISION and VALUES to ensure that the information gathered can strategically inform the marketers and the C-Suite. Aligning your conditions of satisfaction with the heart of the company is vital to long term success.”

Jason Eng, Product Marketing Specialist, Sony Pro

 “One of the most important SMM metrics to me are my @ replies on Twitter. I want to make sure that our brand is communicating and engaging with our followers, not just broadcasting a message. Looking at my @ replies lets me know if I’m engaging or not. If I’m tweeting a lot but don’t have any @ replies, then I know that I’m either not sharing anything relevant or I’m not listening as much as I should. I want our brand to do both, listen and share relevant content to our followers.”

Joel York, VP of Marketing, Meltwater Group

“The most important social media metrics vary widely based on an organization’s business goals. The most important element is that the metrics provide insight that leads to action toward those goals. Otherwise, it’s just noise. For example, Meltwater Buzz clients focused on brand development and reputation management monitor volume, sentiment, themes and media spread broken down by topic, geography and language to understand the conversation around their brands in real-time and over time. These companies also use Meltwater Buzz’s comparison capabilities to understand how they stack up against the competition. Whereas, companies looking to build customer communities and evaluate the performance of their social media campaigns focus more on engagement metrics, like the number of retweets, likes, impressions and clicks segmented by content and social network to understand what is working and what isn’t working. In addition, brands looking to empower advocates within their communities use Meltwater Buzz’s social profiles and Social CRM database to create in-depth social analytics and demographics at the individual influencer level, such as personal engagement and sentiment, conversation history, influencer score, communication history, and social graph.”

Erin Robbins O’Brien, Head of Marketing & Communications, Viralheat

“Viralheat receives a lot of requests around sentiment analysis and Human Intent. Human Intent is our patented technology but what it does is identifies social leads by recognizing people in a decision making mindset. Both of these are requested by individuals and organizations looking to derive more value out of their social experience on top of mentions tracking, research, account management and engagement. By adding sentiment and leads identification into the social metrics, users are able to utilize data beyond the marketing department into sales, customer support, product development and more.”

Kelly Loubet, Community Manager, Spellbinders Paper Arts

“In my work as a Community Manager, I’d say that the most important metrics for my clients are the rate of engagement as well as the frequency of engagement across social platforms. I know I’m doing something right when people respond. Every “like”, comment, “share”, +1, *heart*, and RT… communicate an excitement for the brand that I’m not able to fake. It’s that authenticity generated by the community itself that keeps the community growing.

When it comes to the frequency of engagement… being able to know when my highest concentration of followers is online is a huge win. I can then tailor my brand message to reach them where they are. Timing the message allows for greater and more regular engagement. Another factor in the frequency of engagement is being consistent as a Community Manager. If I can keep people coming back every morning at 9am to answer the question of the day… I’ve created a regular frequency. Community growth is all about being inclusive, asking for feedback, and giving recognition. Gathering metrics on my client’s engagement rates create the foundation for a lasting plan of action.”

What are your key metrics of measurement for an effective social media campaign? Is there a metric that you wished social media monitoring tools paid closer attention to?

About Deidre
Deidre Drewes is the Interactive Culture Cultivator at DragonSearch, an internet marketing firm with offices in Manhattan and Kingston, NY. Deidre has a B.A. in Journalism from SUNY New Paltz and an M.A. in Communication from Marist College. A journalist degree and marketer by mindset, Deidre is a Twitter and Facebook junkie that gets her kicks from daily banter with the #usguys Twitter tribe. Deidre hails from the small town of Saugerties, NY (see also: Woodstock ’94, Jimmy Fallon), although “small town” is hardly her mindset.

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