Seven Deadly Truths About Social Media Measurement

Seven Deadly Truths About Social Media Measurement

Social Measurement is a multi-layered subject littered with misunderstandings and misconceptions. Do not, however, walk away in disgust and pretend the discussion does not exist. It does and the way KPIs are structured and delivered, the phenomena of vanity-metrics and the proving or otherwise of a Return on Investment (ROI) will not go away by sticking your head in the sand and sucking up worms.

Social Measurement will remain the devil on your shoulder nagging away at you for some time yet unless you have arrived at the nirvana of delivering everything those eager marketeers and busy businesses want. If not, then strap yourself in take the pain of listening to all that stuff you would rather not hear in readiness for some solutions to this perennial problem.

So whatever industry sector you are in, use these seven hints and tips to brush up your ideas about that number crunching.


Or as J. Bentwood, CIO at Edelman Intelligence, expresses it, it’s got to have a point, it’s got to be useful. So, don’t waste your valuable time with hopeless vanity-metrics. Looks are all well and good, but it's what’s inside that counts. All effective measurement strategies should heed this tip.


To paraphrase A.P. Merton: Don’t spend your life struggling up a ladder of success to discover that you have been on the wrong wall all along.

Maximise your strategy. And if necessary, remodel your goals.

  • Remember your audience, make sure you are resonating with their needs and measure the real impact of the content

  • Remember the need for your marketing to be impactful, measure this and re-design the strategy if need be, always keep the importance of brand-health front of mind

  • Remember it all comes down to the bottom line, so measure for the impact on the business, if the bottom line does not move positively, why?

Always keep in mind what is important at the time. Focus on the metrics that reflect this, for example if you are looking at the impact of your content think about follower-growth, viewer engagement and post times.

Think strategically as well as tactically, measure against the outcomes of brand health: awareness, intent to purchase. Always keep in mind the marketing impact and always and forever the business impact.


Begin, measure, continue, measure, finish, measure. Effective measurement is not just for reflection; it is a dynamic and effective tool to keep the campaign working and improving from start to finish.

Set early objectives, prearrange appropriate milestones, and measure against these from start to finish.

Thinking about measurement prior to planning a campaign helps the planning process and measuring effectively throughout the campaign can only improve the process. How do you know if you are still heading in the right direction if you keep your eyes closed until you arrive?


There is an old surrealist joke. Question: How many apples can you get in an orange crate? None. Many marketers are also comparing their oranges to apples, or even bananas.

Zooming in on the metrics that don’t really matter only satisfies the ego, because you think – or can make others think – you know what’s going on.

Once you have an idea of how the content is performing using follower count, engagement, post-times etc. get on with the meaty stuff and focus on the comparison of discrete life-cycle stages in your customers buy-journey. Invest the time to get this right and it’s a real winner. It is a secret door into the best way to make significant improvements to your top-line marketing strategy, which will hit the jackpot and have a tangible positive effect on the all-important bottom-line.

Bettering yourself month on month is more important than just bettering your, possibly, poor performing competitor.


Like every other sphere of life, the world of social media at some point will go wrong, which may be a disaster for your brand, and sod’s law dictates that this will happen at the worst time too.

Imagine the value to your Chief Exec of avoiding such a crisis. Can a well-orchestrated social media measurement strategy help avoid such a calamity? The answer is, of course, yes. Once a problem has reached the stage where key connectors or critical-influencers are aware of it, your brand will have already picked up some clear signals and implemented messaging to rescue the position.

Brands MUST set up alerts to ensure prompt notification and enable effective remedial measures that manage the worst of the fallout.


All men (and of course women) may be born equal, but all ‘mentions’ are not. The wrong people saying the wrong things will not help to develop revenue or catalyse business growth. Quality trumps quantity. Make yourself aware of who is talking about you and stay focussed on targeting the right influencers. A wide-ranging discursive about your brand is only a good thing if the right people are talking about the right things.

Cross reference social mentions with Google Search trends and set your crosshairs on the right influencers. Actively search for the channels where these key influencers are chatting about you. Always be willing to benchmark your current campaigns with previous campaigns and get right under the skin and find out what really resonated with those key influencers, then go deeper again and find out what incentivised them to fight your corner.


Social measurement is a big scary monster and terrorizes the new or faint of heart. They are afraid of the decision about which strategy to implement, and feel too insecure to openly discuss these fears. The monster may turn out to be a pussycat and like all bullies it preys on the weak. Challenge it head on, share your concerns and you will find more empathy out there than you might imagine, and many will be willing to share their concerns, resolutions and ideas. Nobody knows everything, don’t pretend you do.

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