KPIs, Quantitative and Qualitative Measurements for Social Media

Arguably one of the most powerful skills a PR practitioner can develop is his/her ability to measure or determine the volume of content and the sentiment toward a brand or topic on the social web.

In other words:  social media measurement.

This can be done in one of two different ways:

1.)    Quantitatively: a determination of the volume of content; i.e. the number of posts, comments, tweets, retweets, likes, and follows one receives.

2.)    Qualitatively: a determination of the sentiment of content; i.e. metrics, while mentions, comments, conversations, and feedback about a specific brand.

According to Barker, Barker, Bormann, and Neher in “Social Media Marketing: A Strategic Approach,” both of these methods are measured by a nifty little metric called Key Performance Indicators. These are a social media metric that indicates the progress of strategies in achieving goals.


However, before choosing the right social media KPI, you must have a good understanding of the social media goals that are important to your organization. As with any other marketing goal, this needs to be measurable. Next, choose a mixture of qualitative and quantitative KPIs that could accurately measure progress in achieving your goals. It is then necessary to set a baseline or benchmark to create a standard against which all social media KPIs are measured. Essentially, benchmarks/baselines establish a starting point. The last step is comparing an organization’s social media KPIs to its benchmarks over a person of time. This measures the pace and degree of progress.


It is important to remember that these steps will be applied differently per each social media outlet. For example, this article from Avinash Kaushik offers some great advice for quantitatively monitoring one of today’s most popular social media mediums: Twitter.
1.)    Don’t just utilize generic, data-puking analytics. You must make sure you create a goal, find your metric, and analyze the “what does this data mean” and “what can I do with it?”

2.)    Klout is a wonderful tool, but don’t just use it as a compound measurement to seek “influence.” Break it down into four categories: Reach, Demand, Engagement, and Velocity.

3.)    Invesitigate the analytic sites you’re using. For example, GraphEdge actually weans out the spam accounts and calculates your influence and information from more accurate, initial data.

4.)     Keep in mind that your reach is primarily dependent on “unique” names. This means that if you have ten followers and they all follow each other, your network is encapsulated within that number. 


By: Mariah Suddarth

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