The Metrics Conundrum: ROI & the Community Manager

Yesterday I went to the Community Manager unconference and it got me thinking about metrics and ROI.

While it’s difficult to guess which metrics will work best for someone else’s company, especially without knowing the specific business goals for the team, I pulled together some thoughts about potential business goals for a community/social media team and metrics I’ve reported in the past.

At a high level, I’d recommend tracking specific goals tied to current business goals and creating/updating a community metrics dashboard each week. 

A few example business objectives for community outreach:

  • engage existing customers
  • encourage word of mouth
  • spread news about our business/ share good user stories
  • brand awareness and visibility
  • become part of the larger conversation in your field/market
  • increase search ability
  • complement promo campaign
  • support other calls to action
  • ambassador advocacy

From the very high level, there are three quantitative things you’ll want to track for any community project:

  1. Audience size (reach)
  2. Reactivity (RT, share, reblog, etc)
  3. Traffic to site

Caveat: Community deals with people, it’s good to also look at some  “squishy” qualitative things as well.

Other specific metrics I’ve tracked before…

  • Site traffic driven via social channels
  • Conversion
  • # of fans is interesting, number of engagements/shares better, shares by key influencers and super fans best
  •  # and % positive customer mentions
  • revenue
  •  # posts
  • # mentions
  •  # super fans
  •  search engine rankings spot test

What do you track? How do you track it? How often?

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