Many companies, when evaluating the results of a social media strategy or campaign, look at individual metrics to evaluate the success or failure. Stats like Facebook likes, Twitter retweets, or Tumblr followers. In truth, these stats only tell one small piece of the story and rarely indicate how things are going overall.
Reasons to Index
As Bill Murphy, www.campaignsandelections.com states in his article On Social Media, Sometimes Less is More, “Social media has become a valuable part of campaigns large and small. But in order to be effective, your reporting should rely less on vanity metrics and more on substance.” He goes on to say, “In other words, your total “Likes” are less important than the total number of engaged followers.”
One way I’ve found to compile a more substantial and meaningful benchmark is to use an Index of individual KPIs (key performance indicators). By combining and weighting individual KPIs, you get single metric that can help you quickly understand how a particular area of interest is performing. If the Indexed metric shows poor performance, you can then drill down into the individual KPIs that compromise that metric to determine where the problem lies.
What to Index
Think about all the different metrics that you track when running your Social Media strategy or campaign. Now take a moment and group those metrics together. A few of the areas that I typically recommend a company group, or Index around are:
How to Index
Okay, I’m sure your asking, “How do I apply this Index thing to my Social Media strategy?” One example I like to give is measuring the Growth portion of your strategy.
First, take all the stats that indicate the Growth of your community. Some of these include:
- Facebook Likes
- Twitter Followers
- Tumblr Followers
- Kontribune Subscribers
Whatever Social Media platforms you are using for your campaign, figure out the Growth KPIs and use those. Now comes the hard part. Weight those metrics. Which platform is more important you? Ask yourself questions like, “Where ARE my customers?” “What networks are my competitors using?” “Where have I found value in the past?”
Really try to avoid weighting each KPI the same, because they’re not. They all have a different importance to you on how they move the needle depending on your company, the type of campaign you are running, or the areas where you feel need the most work.
You should also use weights to normalize the data. If a Twitter Follower is more important to you and harder to get than a Facebook Like, weight that stat substantially higher to make the result closer to the Facebook numbers.
Once you’ve determined the weight of each KPI, build out your Index metric like so:
Social Media Platform #1*weight + Social Media Platform 2*weight + Social Media Platform 3*weight = Index Score
Or, to put some numbers around it:
To put some made up numbers behind it:
Lastly, I like to normalize my Indexes scores to 2 whole number and 2 decimal places. By multiplying by 1.01 here I get an Indexed score of 55.00.
Once you’ve measured your Index Score, benchmark yourself against your competitors. Most of their stats are readily available and compiling their score should be relatively easy. This will give a good sense of how you’re doing.
Group your Indexes Together
To take this one step further, put together an Index Score for several categories and combine those together to give you a quick executive level stat on how the overall campaign or strategy is performing.
Indexing can be a powerful weapon in you arsenal and can help you not only determine how your overall Social Media Strategy is performing, but also help with quickly measuring the results of individuals campaigns you may be running. Now that you’ve started Indexing, set goals for yourself, and challenge you and your teams to exceed them.