Jim Sterne’s book, Social Media Metrics, goes well beyond the basic metrics of tracking visitors and “mentions” across social media channels. His subtitle is “How to Measure and Optimize Your Marketing Investment”. (If I could add an additional subtitle for this book, it would be “More than Numbers”).
Sterne urges people to go beyond counting followers and fans and to think more about engagement. What are people doing as a result of the content you are sharing? You want to measure the action they are taking based on what you are saying, whether it’s making a purchase or signing up for additional information. Is your audience engaging in response to your requests for input? More importantly, are you acknowledging or using that input? If you ask questions of your audience, but never respond, you’ll lose audience interest very quickly.
This doesn’t diminish the important of tracking your statistics. Numbers are still a starting point. As a colleague reminded me recently, “Every conversion begins with a click”. However, rather than getting caught up only on the raw data, focus on trends and growth over time, as well as what happens after that initial click.
Social Media Metrics is not a book about tools, such as Facebook or Twitter, and may be overwhelming for people new to the social media measurement field. It’s a better fit for people who have been utilizing social media for a while and want to think analytically about their metrics. If you are new to social media, I can recommend several good introductory books. Once you spend some time with ‘101’-level books and are ready to dive in deeper, take a look at Jim’s book.