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Social Media Metrics Are a Challenge

Forrester says managers are dealing with ‘an enormous volume of data’

Chart courtesy Forrester Research Inc.
So your station is now hooked up with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and whatever new social network was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal last week.

A new report from Forrester Research advises that social networks are cranking out “an enormous volume of data” and that interactive marketers should take steps to manage it better.

“To keep your team focused, you must become the hub of your company’s social media marketing reporting and create standardized reporting templates and frequencies for different types of stakeholders,” author Nate Elliott and co-authors state in the executive summary of “Social Media Marketing Metrics That Matter.”

Steps include frequent reporting of digital metrics to community managers and social media strategists; “per-campaign” or annual reporting of branding and trial metrics to other marketing team members; and quarterly or annual reporting of financial metrics to executives.

“Social media contributes value to interactive marketing programs in many ways — but measuring that value is difficult,” they continued. “The sheer volume of social media metrics can quickly become overwhelming and distracting for key stakeholders.” The authors say there are “literally hundreds” of metrics being tracked right now by marketers, agencies, vendors and sites that use social media.

They recommend that interactive marketers “become the home of all social media marketing metrics”; help their colleagues put all that data to better use; standardize different reports for different audiences; and show each group how its success fits into the company’s bigger social media picture.

In the accompanying image they make the point that different stakeholders require different types of social media reporting.