"We doubled our Twitter followers" is not a measure of social media success

“We doubled our Twitter followers” is not a measure of social media success

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With social media is that there are so many things to measure – the number of people that read your blog post, the number of comments you get, the Likes a Facebook photo received, your followers on Twitter. Social media is not short of numbers and metrics. The challenge is that just because something can be measured does not make it important.

And there is still a tendency, even among well-respected brands and agencies, to resort these easy-to-find but ultimately meaningless measures of business success with social media.

The number of followers you have on Twitter, or Likes a post gets on Facebook, doesn’t tell you anything about the impact social media is having on your business. These measures are certainly useful to those managing channels or programmes of activity – they help you to understand what you are doing day-to-day. But they shouldn’t be used to justify expenditure or to show business success.

Business success, in contrast, should be judged based on the objectives set out for the campaign or for social media more generally. What role is it playing for your business? How is it supporting your business strategies? What value is it creating or what cost is it saving? These business questions are not measured by simple measures like followers or Likes.

Asking what the impact of a campaign has been typically elicits one of two responses – either a story about the number of new followers, the number of views or the like; or it produces a response based on the impact the campaign had on the business. Which is given is often a good sign of how strategic an approach to social media is.

Photo credit: proper measure(ment) by Barbara Krawcowicz