If you are feeling that every other organization out there has solid social media metrics but you, then let me provide you with a comforting notion: you are not alone. In fact, the vast majority of organizations not only don't have metrics, but (from my experience), don't even think about using metrics or gathering data until they are well into their social networking/media initiative.
Look at some recent stats:
If you fall in the 16% that measure ROI, then please contact me immediately because I would love to hear what you are doing as would everyone else out there that is struggling to put together a set of solid metrics! If you are in the 80% Club then I do have a few key pieces of advice for you:
- Don't start measuring when you are already well into your social networking initiative!
Instead, DO start measuring from the very beginning--I know , I know, the numbers will be abyssmal, but that is okay--we just need a valid baseline metric from which we can use to compare successive measurements as we go forward. Put into a positive light, if your numbers truly are horrible to start, there is nowhere to go but up and you can see stellar (albeit perhaps not super meaningful) triple digit increases!
As you are deciding how to roll-out your social network, make a plan for how you will measure it at the same time. Pick intervals large enough to show some sort of change, but not so large that you can't identify trends. A good rule of thumb is to measure at baseline (go live), and then every 3 months thereafter. If you think you will have a relatively engaged group, then I'd probably sample monthly to see the progress and take a more granular measurement to look at the trends.
- Do decide on and take consistent measurements of your social network
In any case, make sure you start thinking about measuring!