Measuring Social Media ROI: benchmarks and metrics for determining the success of social media initiatives

by Lee Hopkins on April 23, 2012 · 1 comment

in book review,clippings,tools,training

Am I missing anything? What else should I write about in this report/book?


Executive summary

The days of will Social Media (SM) work for us? How do we use it? and Who will do this for us? have gone. Today, any organisation that is client-centric, innovative and competitive considers social media as a part of core business strategy. Social media has become a business necessity. It being used to communicate, to generate business, to recruit, and to network; it’s now ingrained in organisations as a fundamental part of all strategic initiatives.

But how can you tell if it is really working? Sure you might have some people liking you on Facebook, or have a million people following you on Twitter, but are you tracking how effective each update is, or how far your tweets are reaching? What about mobile apps—they are easy to create but how does an organisation match the consumer use of apps to business objectives? And just who is responsible for managing social media ROI?

With a strategic focus, this report provides organisations at all stages of social media use with the tools needed to measure success in business terms, from the effective use of manpower/time, from benchmarking individual campaigns, through to performance metrics for each unique social media platform. The report will show that social media ROI is more than just saying, “We grew 1,000 fans this month”; it’s saying why it is important that we grew 1,000 fans, what the business outcome is of such growth.

Chapter One explores the essential background to social media and explains why measuring and analysing social media metrics is so important to the success of any social media programme.

Chapter Two helps the wise reader choose which business objectives of the organisation social media can help meet. Without understanding the importance of tying social media progress to real-world business objectives (financial and non-financial) any social media programme is destined to failure.

Chapter Three looks at social media strategy now that business objectives have been identified. In this chapter we look at how social media can help with customer service and digital brand management.

Chapter Four then operationalises the social media strategy and looks at which metrics should be tracked in order to determine the progress of the social media programme. The F.R.Y. (Frequency, Reach, and Yield) approach to business metrics analysis is explored and discussed.

Chapter Five takes a close look at social media dashboards—there are lots of options out there that organisations can use, but does ‘expensive’ necessarily mean ‘best’?

Chapter Six looks at reporting and how it’s not good enough to report a “Five per cent increase in Twitter followers.” There is a real need in today’s hyper-rushed business environment to ‘connect the dots’ for the report’s readers, but to do so quickly and efficiently. Ultimately, if data is not meaningful to the executives who read it, why include it in the report?

Chapter Seven considers the all-important issue of Change Management. Introducing a social media programme into an organisation will create change, and as we all know, change scares people, from the CEO down. Therefore, managing how the organisation and the executive approach social media, and managing their expectations of what a social media programme can deliver, is essential to the programme’s success.

Chapter Eight wraps up the report and offers suggestions as to where readers can go for further advice, guidance and knowledge.


I’ve got a month to write it, with publication targetted for 1st July. Your help with ideas and suggestions very much appreciated.


  • Brad Grier

    Lee, this looks very, very interesting! I’d love to read it when it’s done 😉

    One question, it looks like it’s aimed at med-large businesses. Perhaps abstract out a layer whereby you could show how small businesses and entrepreneurs can benefit by applying methodology. 

    Otherwise, go hard mate! Go hard!!

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