Social Media Management: 30+ Social Media Metrics

What’s the ROI for being social? Think social media doesn’t convert? Let’s get the facts straight about measuring social media.

00-How to Create Social Media Tracking Codes for Better Conversion Insights-01

You’re either on the bandwagon or you’re not. But as time goes on, the people who call social media a “fad” are starting to look like those who didn’t believe the Internet would be a big deal. So it’s time to educate yourself, or miss out on one of the best ways to drive website traffic since online press releases.

To start, we’re not saying every publishing company needs a MySpace or a Facebook. We’ve found that those social networks are either hit or miss, depending on who your target audience is. You’re more likely to have a hit with Facebook, but unless you already have a cult following, a lonely fan page is doing you more harm than good.

Social networks that are driven by content delivery work best for publishers. They allow us to distribute our content on larger platforms than our own, and attract users that may not have noticed us otherwise. Some of these “networks”, we might not even consider as such, but if said “network” allows you to create a profile, add content, and interact with other users, it’s a social network. Twitter, Digg, SlideShare, YouTube, Magnify, Ning, Confabb, etc.

Depending on the type of content you produce, you can become very active on any one of these social networks. Tim from has a huge following on YouTube. The New York Times has 55,659 followers on its Twitter stream, which they use only as a glorified RSS feed.

So let’s get down to it. What kind of difference will social media make at your publishing company? How much will it cost? How can you tell if it’s working?

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The myth: Social media users don’t convert.

The fact: I’m sorry, if you think that’s true then you must think that people who find your landing pages on Google don’t convert either? How about PPC? What makes a person who uses a social network less likely to convert? After all, they are coming to you based on your online personality and the content that you spread, rather than a blurb they find in search results. When they’re coming to your site from social media, they all ready like you, otherwise they wouldn’t stop by for a visit. There’s much less convincing to do on your end.

Yes, using social networks may drive a good amount of traffic to your site, and only 10% of them may convert to email subscribers, and maybe only 2% of them will buy a product. But how does that differ from buying a pay-per-click ad with the same results?

This is what I like to call user-error. Maybe the problem is that you’re not directing this new traffic to the right places, like landing pages; or structuring your site so that visitors are easily converted.

The good news about social media management

Traffic from social media is somewhat instantaneous. You won’t automagically get 10,000 subscribers overnight, but if you are delivering valuable, noteworthy content, it will catch on. What I like the most about social media, is the ability to interact with our users.

I constantly get private messages from people on our @mequoda Twitter account telling me that they just found us, but that they love our content and just subscribed to our newsletter. In a few short months, we already have 350+ followers and most of them hadn’t heard of us before we interacted on Twitter. Also, since Mequoda began our social networking efforts last January, our site traffic has gone up 64%.

The bad news about social media management

When it comes to social media, ROI isn’t an exact measurement. Any social media expert will attest to this, and will instead ask you: how much did you actually invest in it to begin with? After all, social media isn’t a direct expense except in the form of time spent.

There’s more good news though… Unless you are a huge publishing company, social media doesn’t usually mean making a new hire. The more cost effective (and smart) approach is to get your editorial and marketing team involved. The people who are passionate about the brand and have pride in their work, will represent you the best in social media circles.

So, on to the metrics. I couldn’t say it any better than one of the experts themselves, so here are social media metrics from

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03-Why Every Multiplatform Publisher Should Outsource Strategy, Technology and Analytics-01Social Media Activity Metrics

  • Pageviews
  • Unique visitors
  • Members
  • Posts (ideas/threads)
  • Number of groups (networks/forums)
  • Comments & Trackbacks
  • Tags/Ratings/Rankings
  • Time spent on site
  • Contributors
  • Active contributors
  • Word count
  • Referrals
  • Completed profiles
  • Connections (between members)
  • Ratios: Member to contributor; Posts to comments; Completed profiles to posts
  • Periods: By day, week, month, year
  • Frequency: of visits, posts, comments

ROI Measurements

  • Marketing/Sales
    • Cost per number of engaged prospects (community vs. other initiatives)
    • Number of leads/period
    • Number of qualified leads/period
    • Ratio of qualified to non-qualified leads
    • Cost of lead
    • Time to qualified lead
    • Lead conversion
    • Number of pre-sales reference calls (to other customers)
    • Average new revenue per customer
    • Lifetime value of customers
  • Customer Support
    • Customer satisfaction
    • Number of initiated support tickets per customer per period
    • Support cost per customer in community
  • Product Development
    • Number of new product ideas
    • % of ideas from customers/prospects/community
    • Idea to development initiation cycle time
    • Revenue/Adoption rate of new products from community vs. traditional sources

We’ll post another tip soon on how to measure your presence in social media, but for now we’ll leave you with a few good tools that might inspire you to join the party and engage your audience:

Twitter Search – Use this site (whether you are on Twitter or not) to search for your name, brand, products etc. If you’re on Twitter, send a message to anyone who has recently re-tweeted an article, or recommended your product, thanking them for the mention.

Trackur – Similar to Google Alerts, Trackur monitors mentions of any keywords you choose, but can also filter out words as well, amongst other brand monitoring tools. They have a 14-day free trial, which we’ve tested and can say that it provides an invaluable perspective of your brand online. – An oldie but a goodie, you can use Compete to see how your traffic has risen in a period of time. Like I said, social media metrics aren’t an exact science, but if your traffic goes up by 30% after a month of hardcore social media engagement, you will understand its effects.

What did you think of this article? Is there something you want to learn more about? Please engage with us by letting us know your thoughts in the comments.

    Amanda M.

    Hi Dawn,

    Software, no. Since the metrics depend on your specific goal, I’ve found creating a spreadsheet works for me. I’ll see what I can come up with as far as a generalized template goes and share it as a download though when I do 🙂



    Thanks Amanda—
    Do you recommend specific software for tracking all these metrics?

    Rebecca C.

    great post and some original metrics as well as expected ones.
    I’d add one for Product Development – number of customers involved in beta testing / feedback on new products
    And you could combine that with the number who subsequently go on to amplify the message about the new product once it’s launched.


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