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4 Ways to Measure your Social Media Success

April 18, 2012

Toronto, April 18, 2012 - There have been webinars cast, books written, even conferences organized on calculating the ROI of Social Media. There are formulaic approaches, and even customized software that claim this ability. But how do you navigate the measurement options already out there?

Randall Craig, Social Media and Web Strategist, urges the consideration of the following four approaches:

In relation to plan: Before embarking on a social media program, forecast the impact of your efforts. How many page views, likes, new connections, user-generated submissions, comments, tweets, retweets, or shares are you expecting? And in the real world, what are you expecting in terms of real-world change: decreased customer service phone or email volume, increased leads, or increased product sales? "You do not need to forecast everything, just what is important to you and your organization," says Randall Craig. "Forecasting specific numbers at the outset puts a stake in the ground, and improves accountability."

Change from prior period: Instead of a comparison to plan, consider measuring growth over time. Be careful though, the growth number is only useful when the investment of time and budget are also compared over the same period. A 50% year-over-year growth in Twitter followers is meaningless if the work effort to achieve the growth grew by 200%.

In relation to an industry benchmark: A 15% return might seem great, but if everyone else is getting 30%, then 15% is not very good at all. The social web has been around for a few years now, and benchmarks, common practices, and rules-of-thumb are just now starting to become more common. "My organization recently completed a national survey of 400+ associations and not-for-profits; the benchmarks are invaluable and the results are available at," says Craig.

Business impact: It's far more powerful when a Social Media activity directly impacts a real business measure - something that is on the financial statements, either revenue or cost. Some examples would be: Increased sales due to a YouTube campaign, the effectiveness of Twitter to improve customer retention, or the reduction in recruitment fees when using LinkedIn.

One useful tool to use in conjunction with one of these approaches is to create a social media scorecard, highlighting your most critical measures. Not only will it keep you focused on achieving your results, the scorecard is a great way to communicate progress to your colleagues.

Adds Craig: "While all four measurement approaches are valuable, business impact measures are by far the most valuable." If you are tracking relative to plan, to changes, or to industry benchmarks follow the measure back to the impact on the business itself. If it not impacting the business, then why measure it at all?


Since 1994, Randall Craig has advised on web and social media strategy. He is the author of six books including the Online PR and Social Media series. More information about Randall Craig can be found at

For more information contact:

Randall Craig
416.256.7773 x101 /

Carolyn Bergshoeff
416.256.7773 x 103 /

For more information contact:
Randall Craig
Pinetree Advisors Inc.
Phone: 416-256-7773 x101

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Randall Craig, Social Media and Networking Expert


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