The Foolproof Guide to Measuring Social Media

Social Media

The Foolproof Guide to Measuring Social Media

Let’s talk about every social media marketer’s least favorite subject: Social media ROI.

It’s not that we can’t show off some hard numbers when someone asks us that dreaded question.

On the contrary, we’re pretty much drowning in data, resources and how-tos.

The best social media metrics, the worst social media metrics, how to determine social media ROI, why you can’t determine social media ROI: I’ve read all these posts and more. (Hell, I’ve even written some.) 99 percent of them were the opposite of helpful.

They’re noise.

They get us all in our heads, and then they get us to give up when we can’t find the perfect tool, or have one frustrating conversation with a client.

This pie chart is only kind of a joke.

There’s only one question that matters

All this back-and-forth only obfuscates the real question we all want and need to be able to answer: Is social media worth it?

That’s what we really want to know, right? Are we getting enough out of it to make all this worthwhile?

Now, the answer to this question may or may not follow the traditional formula for ROI, some nitpickers will undoubtedly point out.

This matters exactly zero. If you can prove that social media is worth it to your boss, to your client, to yourself – whatever that looks like – and keep doing it month after month, you’re golden.

You CAN measure it

And here’s the thing. Spending the past month waist-deep in social media metrics to write Raven’s new resource, 30 Social Media Metrics That Prove Real Value, has taught me one very important thing: You can measure anything if you want it bad enough.

Yes, it might be time consuming. Yes, there are a million different metrics you might want to measure. No, you probably won’t find a tool that lets you just push a button to produce a magic number. That’s good. Do it the hard way first and earn your metrics.

Earn your metrics and you’ll know how you got there – and where to go.

Earn your metrics and you can put them in the right context.

Earn your metrics and you can present them with total confidence.

The definitive guide to measuring social media

So here’s my foolproof formula for answering The One Big Question: Is social media worth it?


Step 1. Reboot
Forget the social media ninjas, gurus, sherpas and experts. Forget what you’ve read. Ignore almost everything on the Internet (um, not this, of course). Don’t search or click on articles on topics like “social media ROI” or even “social media measurement.”

Step 2. Communicate
Talk to your boss or client about what social media can and should accomplish for your brand. Is social media the introduction, the deal-closer or something else altogether?

Really talk. Nothing is too big or too small to put on the table, and there are no “bad” metrics.

Maybe it’s customer service. Maybe it’s reputation management. Maybe it’s traffic to a website or a physical location. Maybe it’s sales. What element of social media, or combination of elements will answer The One Big Question?

Step 3. Measure
Figure out how to measure just those things. No more, no less. No second guessing.

It may take some research, a fair amount of trial and error, and maybe a refresher course on fractions and percentages – but it can be done.

We can help

Whatever you want to measure, chances are it’s covered in Raven’s guide, 30 Social Media Metrics That Prove Real Value. I researched it and wrote it right from the trenches of day-to-day social media marketing. Download it and let me know what you think.



Courtney Seiter wrangled a smart, savvy community of Internet marketers as Raven's first Community Manager. She moved on from Raven in January 2014, but her social media and writing advice stands the test of time.

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