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“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” said Peter Drucker. Social media measurement tools are one of the fast-growing areas of analytics and venture funding. But, did you know, among businesses that purchase them, only 34% are “happy;” 60% say they are merely “okay” and 6% are so frustrated they are ready to switch (source: KISSmetrics)? Maybe it’s not knowing all the measurements, it’s managing the ones that matter.

To save you frustration, here are 10 social media metrics every marketer should know.

1. TRAFFIC SOURCES (GOOGLE ANALYTICS): It may surprise you but, to me, Google Analytics is the most effective social media measurement tool available. Why? Because, if your social media efforts are effective, people are going to come to your brand’s website. Google Analytics tells you who, how, where, when and why. In the Google Analytics dashboard, “Traffic Sources” tell you how people come to your website – whether it’s from “Search” (organic and paid), “Referral” (social networks and e-marketing) or “Direct.”

2. SOCIAL NETWORK “REFERRALS” (GOOGLE ANALYTICS): “Referrals,” in the “Traffic Sources” section of Google Analytics list the traffic from each social network – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – in order. They also show, by social network, how much time is spent, pages viewed, bounce rate and other measures. This is valuable because now you know the social networks that drive the most visitors for your brand.

3. KEYWORDS (GOOGLE ANALYTICS): In the “Overview” section of “Traffic Sources,” there are the “Keywords” that people use to show why they go to your website. This gives you guidance on their unmet needs and words to use in posts, tweet and blog titles so you know how to attract your audience.

4. “LIKES” AND COMPETITORS’ “LIKES” (FACEBOOK): We all want our brand to be loved “Likes” on Facebook are as close as it gets in social media and is a good metric to track. WOMMA estimates the value of a “Like” to be worth $71.84 to a brand. So it’s worth it not only to keep track of the “Likes” for your brand but also the “Likes” for your competitors.

5. PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT (FACEBOOK INSIGHTS): Engagement is a key reason to use social media. “People Talking About,” available through Facebook Insights, is one of the best measurements of engagement. It is the number of unique people who have either “Liked,” commented, shared or mentioned your brand on Facebook. If “Likes” and “People Talking About” are increasing, your brand is creating a positive buzz.

6. FOLLOWERS AND COMPETITORS FOLLOWERS (TWITTER): These are people who take an interest in your brand. It is worth tracking for both your brand and your competitors. Followers also are a good metric if your brand is active on Pinterest.

7. RE-TWEETS (TWITTER): Like “People Talking About” measures engagement and involvement on Facebook, Re-Tweets (RTs) work similarly on Twitter. They are the metric that measures the quality, rather than the quantity, of your Tweets. If your brand in active on Pinterest, Re-pins are an equivalent measure.

8. COMMENTS AND PINGBACKS (BLOG): If your brand has a blog, the number of comments and “pingbacks” should be tracked and measured. The latter are “links” from other blogs who have passed along your content to their readers. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

9. VIEWS (YOUTUBE): If your brand is on YouTube, views are valuable currency. Views are turbo-chargers for your search rank, especially since YouTube is the #2 search engine. If you ever want your social media activity to go viral, case studies indicate it is more likely to happen on YouTube than any other social network.

10. AUDIENCE RETENTION – “DROP OFF” (YOUTUBE ANALYTICS): YouTube analytics are some of the most sophisticated software on the internet. Many that’s because YouTube is owned by Google. One that is particularly valuable is “drop off” or when people stop watching your video. If you put video on YouTube and aren’t paying attention to this metric, the only one that suffers is your brand.

Other social media metrics like your Klout Score, Kred Score, Topsy, Booshaka (for Facebook Advocates), Technorati (for blog “Authority Score”) and Twitter Search (for geo-targeting) could be worthwhile depending on business goals and the social network that are generating the most traffic and value for your brand.

But, as Peter said, you have to choose the measurements you are going to manage. These are my T0p 1o. Do you agree? disagree? What else would you include?

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Rob Petersen

About Rob Petersen

Rob Petersen is an experienced advertising and marketing executive and President of BarnRaisers, a full service digital marketing agency that builds brands based on proven relationship principles and ROI. He is on the MBA Faculty of Rutgers CMD and is the author of two books on digital marketing.

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