Six Social Media Metrics You Should Be Tracking

When thinking about your social media strategy, you should be planning for 6 important metrics. What are the six? There are 3 different levels of social media participation and 2 different types of measures. Put them in a 3 x 2 matrix, and you get six.

Here’s the rundown on the 3 social media engagement aspects to measure:

  • Activity – Any metrics relating to actions your organization is taking on social media: blogging, tweeting, posting, promoting, etc.
  • Interaction – This category’s measures focus on how your audience is engaging with your social media presence: followers, comments, likes, sharing, user created content, etc.
  • Returns – This group accounts for where your social media activities directly or indirectly support measures driving successful organizations: revenue creation (and the activities that lead up to it), cost minimization (along with activities to help achieve it), and other critical financial performance metrics.

Relative to the two different types of measures, use the “whole-brain metrics” strategy we’ve recommended before: capture both quantitative (left brain) and qualitative (right brain) elements. Using this metrics dashboard strategy accounts for both the “hard” numbers and softer perspectives (stories, images, buzz-related feedback) to provide the most complete evaluative picture of your social media strategy.

There’s a clear advantage to considering the metrics strategy when devising your overall social media strategy. The earlier you think through what you should be tracking in these six categories, the better you’ll be able to shape your innovative social media strategy to be ROI-oriented. – Mike Brown

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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21 Responses to “6 Social Media Metrics You Should Be Tracking”

  1. Scott Burditt says:

    I really like the simplicity of this dashboard. I’ve been asking for something similar to measure our work, and we’ve had a tough time agreeing on those metrics. This is perfect, and I hope to implement this immediately. Thank you.

    • Mike Brown says:

      Appreciate the kind comment Scott, and glad the dashboard will be of benefit. It’s certainly an intriguing case of providing free content and perspectives to see how others can use and adapt it for their success.

  2. Enjoyed this terrific breakdown of social media metrics strategy Mike. There is room for both sides of the brain in this equation. Agree, the earlier you decide the strategy the better. Certainly a very dynamic process but you have simplified in a way that is easy to engage. Nicely done!

    • Mike Brown says:

      Thanks Meghan – this approach has been helpful at the front end of doing a social media strategy to highlight holes that aren’t being addressed which should be. And typically, acknowledging some type of formal gathering and reporting on qualitative metrics helps tell the whole story of what is and isn’t working with a social media strategy implementation.

  3. Alberto says:

    I think the metric is perfect but i have just a little doubt about the number of leads.
    can you give us more explanation?

    • Mike Brown says:

      Thanks for the question Alberto. The metrics included in the dashboard are meant to be representative of the types of metrics in each catgory. In the case of “leads,” to include it, a social media strategy would have to have specific components intended to generate leads. That might be from offering a white paper or podcast whic requires the person downloading it to share information and interest levels in the product or service a company is offering. Hubspot does a great job of this. I’ve downloaded material and received pretty rapid call-backs from the company about my needs for their services.

  4. Sasheendran says:

    Thanks for the dashboard.It gives a good framework to put things in right perspective.

  5. Michelle C says:

    Nice post, Mike. We definitely agree with you that there should be both quantitative and qualitative measurements of social media. The quantitative can give you an overview of what you’re looking at (number of mentions, principal influentail sites for your brand/company, etc) with qualitative KPIs like the ones you mentioned above.
    I just tweeted you John W Lewis, as well, because we are talking with him about using social media monitoring for innovation in business learning, ie going beyond “what are people saying about my brand” to “what can we learn from social media to improve our brand”..
    Anyways, have a great rest of your weekend 🙂

    Michelle @Synthesio

  6. Just loved the way you put this together. I agree with Alberto about how the metrics are perfect and your response to the “leads doubt” was excellent!

  7. Daniel says:

    Thanks for the dashboard, this is a great input for my work. Perhaps it could make sense to further differentiate the aspect “Activity” into “Things you’re initiating” vs. “Things you’re NOT initiating” – analogously to prompted vs. unprompted questions in traditional survey research.

    • Mike Brown says:

      Daniel – I’m wondering if the “Things you’re NOT initiating” would fall into the interactivity category in that they’d be started by someone else interacting with your content?

  8. Allen Bonde says:

    Mike – Very nice + simple! As a veteran of many online/self-service/social consulting gigs I totally agree ‘whole brain’ approach is way to go. Another set-up technique I’ve used in strategy sessions is to talk about ‘measureable’ vs ‘meaningful’ KPIs and having a balance between both classes.

    RE your table, how do you see Shares/Retweets fitting in here? We see them as pretty key measures for showing effectiveness of participatory/experience type social apps. In the maturity model we use (will be blogging on latest version shortly at we map these to the ‘engage’ stage along with comments, signups etc.

    Great stuff and thanks for sharing!


    • Mike Brown says:

      Allen – Sharing and retweets would fall into the interactivity category in this approach. Numbers-oriented metrics would obviously be quantitative, but comments associated with the retweets (i.e., “This is great content”) would be considered qualitative in nature.

  9. JUST what I was looking for….. thank you!

  10. Thanks for the post, Mike. Some really good thoughts. I like that you look at quantity and quality at the same time. Some people out there seem to lack this insight.


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