March 3, 2011, 11:26 AM

How to provide the right metrics on social marketing

A new report outlines various ways marketers can report on social media efforts.

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As social media matures as an e-commerce marketing tool,  executives and managers in different roles require different metrics about promotional campaigns conducted through Facebook, Twitter, blogs and similar channels, says a new report from Forrester Research Inc.

The report, “Social Media Marketing Metrics that Matter,” identifies three groups that need regular reporting on social media marketing efforts: social media strategists and community managers; interactive marketers and marketing executives; and high-level executives and business-unit leaders.

The first group, strategists and community managers, oversees the tactical aspects of social media marketing campaigns. They build and maintain a company’s social media presence and interact every day with consumers via Facebook, Twitter and blogs.

“Because these employees live and breathe social media, and because social media moves fast and never sleeps, these employees require the highest frequency and volume of social media metrics of any stakeholder group,” writes the report’s author, Forrester analyst Nate Elliott. 

He says strategists and managers can get much of the information they need via real-time observation of social media, along with listening platforms that track consumer comments on social media sites, and information provided by web analytics vendors.

The second group, interactive marketers and marketing executives, should focus less on day-to-day interactions and on general brand-building through social media.  Hence, reporting to those executives can take place on a per-campaign or even annual basis. However, just because reporting can be less frequent for this group doesn’t mean the information they require is unimportant.

“Just 18% of U.S. social media marketers say they use brand surveys to measure the impact of their programs,” the report says. “These metrics, along with the more commonly tracked lead generation, sampling and coupon redemption metrics, are vital to understanding if social media has helped your team achieve its marketing objectives.”

The third group, which includes product managers, sales leaders and chief marketing officers, needs to view social media on a strategic level, the report advises. Such executives should receive metrics that can help them measure the long-term financial impact of social media—incremental sales figures, for instance—instead of day-to-day reports.

“While many executives will be tempted to get involved in the day-to-day metrics of social programs, it’s most important that interactive marketers give these executives access to the data that will help them secure budget for future social media programs,” the report says.

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