Analyzing Metrics

Chapter 15 of Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Effects in Your Organization, focused mainly on how to set business objectives and ways in which to measure progress towards these goals. I think this type of skill will be pertinent to our social media platform projects leading up to the symposium. With the symposium being just 3 weeks away, one of which is spring break, time is of the essence in terms of spreading the word and reaching a target audience. Attendance at the symposium will greatly depend on how successful our social media outreach attempts are. We have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest covered. At this point it’s just a matter of who will follow our accounts and be drawn in enough to spend their Thursday afternoon with us. According to Blanchard, “Business objectives give purpose to a social media program, give momentum to a social media program, makes everyone involved with a social media program accountable to the rest of the organization and provides adequate measurement of a social media program and insight into what is working and not working”. We can translate this information into our objectives related to the symposium. Our purpose is to educate students, faculty and Pittsburgh residents on how to use social media in a professional way across multiple platforms. Posting daily gives us momentum into engaging with our audience. Each group is actively posting on their given social media platform on a weekly (or more frequently) basis, involving the entire class in our objective. We are monitoring how many people like, follow, repost/retweet, etc. our posts to see what sort of attention we’re attracting.


Blanchard also advised on how to calculate metrics accurately and to avoid a couple pitfalls. Sometimes businesses get caught up in “popularity metrics”, a term that represents only focusing on the exact number of followers a certain platform contains. Blanchard describes these as “empty numbers”, since the actual interaction of one person clicking follow on a page then moving right on to something else is very minimal. A celebrity might have 5 million followers, but many of these people may not look twice at what they are posting. The quality and actual interaction of the follower is what should be focused on. Empty followers have zero value in terms of reaching a business objective. Another term that is warned about is “moment in time metrics”, this references the rise and fall of certain brands, people, etc. and their popularity. A celebrity that was popular six months ago may have fallen in the shadows by the current date. It’s important to track metrics in terms of overall trends, not by random spikes based on circumstantial situations. I’d say an example of this would be Rebecca Black, a somewhat dated example but we’ll go with it. Black came out with the hit “Friday” in 2011 and was popular for about a week. Her song wasn’t necessarily good, but it certainly made an imprint on the pop-cultural scene of the time. Today, nobody talks or knows about her. Measuring a metric from 2011 for that one week would imply she is very popular, but today the metric would look entirely different.


The best advice I took from this Blanchard chapter was that the only way to improve or rely on metrics is to test them out, evaluate with feedback and then repeat with modifications. We have the benefit of having last year’s symposium to learn from. This year we’ll be able to take the feedback the class received and use it to help our symposium reach more people, be more informative and spread useful information. We’ll be sure to develop a feedback response system so that attendees of this year’s symposium will be able to provide their thoughts on how we did and what we need to change.


  • Blanchard, Olivier. “Planning for Performance Measurement.” Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization. Indianapolis, IN: Que, 2011. 30-40. Print.



4 thoughts on “Analyzing Metrics

  1. Julianna,

    I think it is a great point to watch out for popularity metrics and empty followers. I am sure a lot of our platforms will obtain these metrics and we have to make sure that we don’t get comfortable and assume that just because we are getting followers that these people are going to show up to our symposium.It is important for us to keep up the momentum and keep spreading the word to make sure that we are reaching our target audience.


  2. Now that you mention these things, I wonder if they measured in any way last year where symposium attendees heard about our event. If they did, it would be very helpful for us to look at those statistics. If not, we should definitely ask all attendees to sign in and indicate where they heard about our symposium (Twitter, Facebook, word of mouth, etc). While metrics like followers and retweets can provide us with interesting statistics, the bottom line is knowing whether any of our online activity is bringing in bodies.


    • I agree, I think we should definitely measure the number of attendees who come to our event after hearing about it from any form of social media. I imagine that a lot of our guests will be friends of our classmates who we have convinced to come. The interesting part that we want to understand is the effectiveness of our social media strategy- the core component of this symposium. Do our tweets actually reach and engage an audience? How many Instagram followers are not students of our class? Going forward, we should take Blanchard’s advice and maintain a list of everything we can possibly measure to understand the success of our symposium and tie it to our original objectives so future classes can learn, adapt and repeat from our work.


  3. I think it’s important to understand how perceived reach is much different than actual reach, and I think that sometimes that can be hard to do. Popularity is easy to measure, but often-times leads to false confidence in the overall effectiveness. I remember when I started getting a lot of followers on my tumblr account a few years back I was really excited, but after a while I realized that less than a third actually interacted with my content on a consistent basis. For our symposium in particular, I’ve realized that most of people liking our posts outside of our classroom are people that I know. Unfortunately, I think that a good deal these people don’t have a strong interest and are more just being supportive of our efforts. It’s tough to get a strong following these days, huh?


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