5 reasons to measure social media

There’s so much hype around data and ROI in social, it’s easy to forget why measurement is actually necessary. Here are five reasons to measure social media.

1. To establish a starting point

Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.

Every organisation started out with social from nothing, but all at different times and at different speeds. So by now everyone is at different places. Measurement – and benchmarking in particular – can tell you where you are starting from in relation to your competitors.

2. To set direction

Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if only you walk long enough.”

If you’re the marketing equivalent of Alice in social media Wonderland, not caring where you want to get to just as long as you get somewhere, then good measurement ensures you’re not walking aimlessly in no particular direction.

3. To track progress

If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”

That C.S. Lewis bloke must have known a bit about social media. Measurement not only helps you understand if you’re getting closer to your goal, but also tells you when you might need to turn back and try another approach.

4. To demonstrate success

By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.”

Invariably with social activity, achievement is not a binary “we did it/we didn’t do it” state of affairs but rather has varying shades of grey. Measurement is therefore critical to understanding what has actually been achieved, and to putting that success in terms that demonstrate the value to others (who don’t always share the same levels of enthusiasm).

5. To justify further investment

This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

This is kind of how it often feels with social. Just when you think you’ve got to where you want to be, something changes and you’re off again, often requiring more resources and investment than before. By using measurement smartly throughout the planning cycle, you shouldn’t even need to ask.

(With apologies to Napoleon Hill, C.S. Lewis twice, Christopher Columbus and Winston Churchill)


  1. Weekly comms news round up 29/06/12 | Cision UK Blog - June 29, 2012

    […] 5 reasons to measure social media by @niallcook via Sociagility […]

  2. 5 reasons to measure social media | Sociagility | Cooperative Extension Evaluation | Scoop.it - July 11, 2012

    […] This post from Sociagility offers 5 reasons to measure social media.  As social media plays in increasing role in our Extension work I thought it would be a great reminder of why we should not overlook measuring social media as part of our overall planning and reporting strategies. The task of measuring social media can seem daunting at first but it is possible so here are 5 great reasons to get started: 1. to establish a starting point 2. To set direction. 3. To track progress. 4. To demonstrate success and 5. To justify further investment.   […]

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