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Social Media Metrics – 9 Calculations To Tell If Your Twitter and Facebook Marketing Suck

How can you easily measure social media ROI or social media metrics? Call me old school, but I love the envelope when it comes to that question. It’s so versatile. It can mail a birthday card (well, I should be mailing more birthday cards), it can serve as a temporary coaster for my coffee or beverage of choice, or it can be used to scribble quick calculation! I am sure that you have heard the phrase, “back of the envelope calculation”. I have made this type of quick multiplication, division and, yes, algebraic estimation many times for insurance questions, Costco purchases and even SAP social media marketing campaign performance estimation. However, for the meatier and more in-depth decisions, I rely on professionals and deeper discovery. The back of the envelope though is still way to help you get a quick delivery on basic social media insights.

Here are 9 back of the envelope calculations to help you develop quick insight into your social media marketing performance:

1. Are Your Facebook Fans Really Interested In Your The Content You Are Posting?

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I like this metric because it answers your followers’ question “I’ve liked your Facebook page, but am I motivated to stay engaged with it”? A Facebook page can be compared to a library, where a successful one is not based on how many cards are registered, rather, how many times the users come back to borrow books! If no one showed up again, then the library would have no reason to be in business. This percentage, which should be between 2-5% for your brand or page, indicates if you are giving a reason for your followers to engage.

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2. Is Your Twitter Content Relevant Enough to Maintain Interest With Your Followers?

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Content is king and if it is ‘royally relevant’, then you will engage your followers to keep them coming back for more. The by-product is a larger network with whom to communicate! More followers! You always want to pay attention the question in back of your followers’ heads of “I’ve decided to follow your analytics page, but are you really giving me relevant content?” Make sure that your percentage of unfollowers is decreasing on a month-over-month basis, vs. overall number unfollowers. This decrease lets you know you are headed in the right direction.

3. How Sharable (and super relevant) Is Your Twitter Content?


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Sharing social media content is the biggest vote of confidence that you are creating relevant information! It’s like the icing on the content cake! You want your followers to say to themselves “I value your retail content enough to pass it on to my own network. It’s my vote of confidence!”. You will want to target your monthly RT total to increase.

4. Is Some Of Your Twitter Content More Interesting And Valued Than Other Types Of Your Twitter Content?

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You want to be able to compare the relevancy and value of your content on a relative basis vs. a gross-number basis. After all … fair is fair! This determining will help you rate how your followers’ value compare your editorial vs. others, so you can then decide how to optimize your messaging. With the retweets per tweet calculation, you want to be increasing this ratio month over month.

5. How Much Of Your Facebook Messaging Is Actually Being Seen By Your Followers?

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If you build it (your Facebook page) and they come … that does not mean the will ever come back again … you need to find them! 95% of Facebook Likers never return to a brand’s page. This low revisit number means that you have to make your number work harder to break through into the newsfeed, which is never easy. Only 15% of your Facebook messaging, a statistic directly reported by Facebook, ever makes it through to your followers’ news feeds. You want to ensure your content leverages video, graphics and other ways to break through to at least 25% of your followers feeds.

6. Are Your Tweets Really Engaging?

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Your followers see your tweets. They see a lot of tweets. How do they place their vote for the most valuable and engaging? With clicks. At SAP in North America, we measure Twitter engagement in two ways – by those who click curated-content (i.e., clicks to Wall Street Journal, Business Innovation content) and those that click with a call-to-action in a campaign. For both we can gauge how engaging these tweets are and if they are performing well against our 80 clicks per tweet benchmark.

7. Is Your Following Strategy Too Needy?

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Why is it that you when follow someone in your industry but they do not follow you back? You can’t start to improve on this challenge until you know how many are not following you back. It’s not that you want everyone to follow you back. However, you do want the potential influencers to follow you. Take this percentage and move toward a smaller percentage month over month by employing an influencer outreach strategy.

8. Are You A Follower And Not A Thought Leader?

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Perception is a reality and your position as a thought leader needs to be managed! How can a ratio help you with that “what people think of you” management? By having ratio between 2 and 3 you are moving toward the right amount of people that you follow. For instance, the @SAPNorthAmerica account has a ratio of 6, so it is certainly perceived to be a thought leader and a resource that adds value to the B2B social conversation. You want to avoid being too unattached (i.e., all followers and no one that you follow) since that is not supporting the ‘dialog’ or ‘two-way conversation strategy. Someone who looks at your follow-to-follower ratio and sees a nice balance of the two will think that there is the potential for a great relationship vs. being just tweeted to.

9. Are You Paying Attention To The Faceook Posts That Your Followers Like Best?

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Yes, the people are talking number is a great indicator if your collective content is engaging. However, what do you do if you want to start to maximize that engagement? Start by bucketing your content into 3-4 types: video, graphics, pictures, polls and text. By following the above formula, you can determine what type of content is driving interaction among your Likers. With this insight, you can answer your followers need for a particular type of content and requests to “give me more”.

Please leave a comment below or contact me directly on this blog if you need help with some of these back of the envelope social media performance calculation! Or, you may have some more of your own!

Good luck on turning your Twitter and Facebook marketing around and giving a second life to that envelope on your kitchen table!

Comments on this Article: 8

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  1. Aaron says:

    These are some very helpful calculations. Thanks.

  2. Carl Thompson says:

    I love the calculations. Reminds me of the dotcom “eyeballs” metrics. None of them are real metrics, and none of them measure anything.

    For social media to add value, it has to prove it adds value (ie: drives revenue growth). These metrics do nothing to advance SM as anything more than a dog toy.

  3. Nice, Carl.

    You completely miss the point that social media needs to do a few things in the selling supply chain.

    You are completely wrong that for social to add value only (directly, I assume) through revenue growth. It has to impact it, which it does in early-funnel.

    The days of direct-response marketing are gone, Carl.

    Do you feel the same way about tv advertising?

    Social’s sweet spot is to impact early-funnel activity, which can be tied to sales activity; driving awareness, engagement and then handing off to the other revenue-related heavy-lifting.

    Squeak, squeak.

  4. Mohan Nair says:

    Thank you Gary, this article was very insightful and informative for me to get an idea of what’s happening at a high level. This will prompt some meaningful conversations with my team as we drill down to understand our trends more closely.

  5. Social media is a deep ocean. Unless you adopt a very own format of conversation that distinguishes you from others, you cannot get success. Different format of voice, commenting on the things happening around the world to get feedback along with your own content rich and well designed website based on good products will certainly make you success. Many many thanks for this nice and informative article.

  6. Julie says:

    This is extremely helpful, thanks for writing this. Bookmarking it for sure.

  7. Brenda says:

    Gerry, best set of metrics on social media marketing I have seen. Results based. Thanks for sharing!

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