Measuring social media is hard.  Extremely hard.  Everyone will tell you a new and different way that they quantify success.

The challenge becomes harder still when you try reporting these measures to recruitment directors who still struggle with digital communication in the 21st century.  Some of the fastest growing, best known and most successful recruitment businesses are run by people who years ago were recruitment consultants themselves.  As they move up the ranks and proceed to move further away from the coalface of recruitment and making cold calls they continue to look back on the process fondly.  Measures for these people are based on activity and direct outcomes.  How many calls did you make today?  How many jobs did you pick up?  How many CVs have you sent?  How many first interviews are arranged?  How many placements have you made?

When I was in recruitment I had a daily target called my “2x2x2”.  Two jobs picked up.  Two new candidates seen face to face.  Two interviews arranged.  If you did that; you would be successful.

Measuring social media is slightly different.  The outbound activity in social media doesn’t have to result in a business action directly through the same post, person or even channel.  The way in which we measure social and digital interactions impacts how companies buy and invest in solutions.  Only 36% of finance executives agree that the metrics they use to assess technology investments are commonly understood across the company according to Capgemini.

With my 2x2x2 KPIs, my output was being measured – and so too where the results that followed.  If the placements didn’t come it showed that something was falling down somewhere along the chain.  When thinking about social media there are so many potential business outcomes that feed into so many places and the impact can and affect many different people that it becomes harder to measure.  But not impossible.

The way I look at measuring social media is as follows:
Views – Actions – Business outcomes.views actions business

Views: How many people have seen us?

Views are the number of times that your content, updates or brand has been seen.  You can track this across most social channels.  In the last year Twitter has made substantial updates to its reporting platform to help advertisers and individuals better understand their reach.  On LinkedIn it is possible to track both the views from personal status updates as well as from company status updates.  From company updates you can see impressions, clicks, and interactions.  Facebook has a similar tool for Pages.

Actions: How many people have interacted with us?

Actions should include things such as social interactions – the number of clicks, Likes, Shares, Comments, Favourites and Retweets.  This helps you to understand if the message you push out resonates with your audience.  If you divide the actions by the number of impressions you can calculate a percentage of people interacting with you.  On LinkedIn and on Twitter we call these an Engagement Score and you should be aiming a score of 1%+.
Twitter analytics
Business Outcomes: How many people have given us something to start making money from?

Business outcomes are harder to measure on social.  This is where you require tracking set up on your own website to understand what visitors do when they get to your business and where they originally came from.

Using things such as UTM codes you are able to track people from social media, content, email, advertising etc. and understand how these individuals use your website and what they do.  By eventually linking back each application, job spec and internal applicant to the source of origin paints a picture as to what has been successful.
Google Analytics
As your business starts to drive up awareness across multiple channels and your marketing becomes more layered, intricate and possibly complicated it becomes harder to establish what has influenced the eventual conversion.  Was this candidate Following up on LinkedIn before clicking on a link from Twitter and then applying?

Many social media monitoring businesses such as Radian6 and Adobe’s insight tools are demonstrating how each platform and channel impacts your business’ marketing funnel.  Google has a section in its analytics called Attribution (you will need to have your Webmaster Tools and Analytics set up correctly to use this.  Find it under the Conversions tab).

attribution modelling
I highly recommend looking at the data in detail to see if you can spot trends, but also seeing what your gut feel is.  If you can sense that a channel is a key influencer then you can establish if your strategy helps to drive up applications across all channels.

From tomorrow start to report on the key metrics that you can influence as a marketer.  Look at the number of views, the actions and finally set up correct tracking to link business outcomes back to each channel.