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No Excuses: 7 Things You Can Measure in Social Media Today

There are seemingly endless debates about whether or not social media marketing efforts bring a return on investment. I believe they do, but others are less convinced.

What often gets lost in these conversations is that regardless of whether your organization is asking for ROI or not, somewhere along the way, you’re going to be asked to prove whether or not the efforts have been worth it. You may have some good engagement examples or tangible case studies, but you can back that up further with some real numbers.

Depending upon who’s doing the asking, you might find yourself scrambling for any tangible measurements you can get your hands on. The good news is there are several things you can start measuring now for the day that happens. This isn’t rocket science, but when presented together this can help add deeper dimension to social media discussions within your organization.

Here are seven things you can start measuring today if you’re not doing anything now:

  1. Facebook followers: No brainer. Everyone tracks this, but plot it out over months so you can show growth.
  2. Average friends per fan: The average Facebook user has 130 friends. Are your fans above average? Divide your fans by your “friends of fans” number to find out the average number of friends per fan. You might be surprised how much more connected your fans are than the average user.
  3. Engagement percentage: I’ve seen “industry” standards that say your Facebook engagement should be between 1%-5% of your total fan base. To determine this divide the “talking about this” number by your total followers, and multiply that by 100.
  4. Comments by medium: If you have a blog and you post more than text, you can track if you have a higher average number of comments on, say, a video post rather than a text post. On Facebook, you’re able to see this even more easily in the Insights. Facebook breaks your updates down by links, text, and video.
  5. Traffic sources: Several of my clients have been surprised to find that Facebook, in particular, is one of the top three referrers of traffic to their website. That’s no small thing. Check your site analytics to see what social channels are sending people to your site.
  6. Feed subscribers: If your blog has an RSS feed (and it probably does), you want to show this separate from traffic numbers. In my view, subscriber numbers are more valuable than visits because these are people who have voted to receive your content. If you use a service like Feedburner to send your blog posts via email, you can also show this number separate from your total RSS feed subscribers.
  7. Mentions/shares: If you’re active on Twitter and Facebook and you also promote your blog posts through these mediums, you can track how many times people share, ReTweet, or otherwise mention your post. This is another encouraging stat that you can share to show that your efforts are being amplified and that cross-pollinating really pays off.