LCI Blog: Measuring Social Media

 By David Landis, LCI President
Every PR discussion I have with communications colleagues these days starts with the same lament:  How do we measure the effectiveness of our social media activity for our clients? 
Seems like everywhere you turn, there’s some new way to quantify – or justify – social media effectiveness.  But does it truly underscore what your clients are looking for?
To get some answers, I turned to Scott Briggs, Director of Social Strategies at Alterian.  He spoke to this issue at the recent gathering of our Public Relations Global Network worldwide affiliates in Chicago. 
Here’s what he had to say:
“The question one needs to ask,” says Briggs, “is how do I analyze what I’m doing with social media measurement and make sure it’s what I should be doing?  It’s really about turning information from social media into something useful to make smart business decisions.”
So what’s the answer?  Here’s Briggs’ sure-fire, step-by-step plan:

  1.  Start by saying to yourself, “Are you asking the right questions?”  Measuring is the process, not the end.  There is no single social media metric.  Start backwards – with your goal – and then determine the metrics.
  2. Next, determine:  What is your business outcome?
  3. Then, figure out:  What are your success metrics?
  4. Ask a follow-up:  What data do you need for those metrics?
  5. Then, contemplate:  How will you collect that data?
  6. Ask:  How will you analyze the data?
  7. Be honest:  Do you have the resources/skill set to analyze the data?
  8. Afterwards: How will you communicate the results?
  9. Most of all: Are the results actionable?

In other words, I fear that many of us in the business (myself included) too often focus on the tactical measurement tools.  But, as with any good business or PR plan, those tactics are only as good as the strategy – and you have to be clear about your end goal. 
So, use the same approach you would with any viable communications strategic plan:  identify the objectives, figure out the strategy, articulate measurable results that map back to the goals – and most of all, make it actionable.
Mr. Briggs, you’ve made it sound easy.
Now, doing it is the hard part.
Please email me:  What’s your social media measurement secret?  [email protected]
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4 thoughts on “LCI Blog: Measuring Social Media

  1. Hi David,
    Thanks for the great feedback. It was a pleasure presenting to the PRGN group. I think you’ve summarized my feelings on the subject very well. We are all rushing to measurement these days without first thinking about what we are trying to measure and what we will do with the results. The secret is really determine your strategy and then develop a plan to deliver that. Measurement and metrics need to be part of the strategy otherwise how will you know when you’ve been succesful?
    Scott Briggs

    1. Glad to hear I didn’t put words in your mouth, Scott. Thanks again for the spot-on strategic approach. . .much appreciated! Cheers, David

  2. David, thank you for sharing. Great idea to start with your goals and work backwards to map out the best road to get there. True in social media, PR and life in general! -Jordana

  3. David —
    You captured Scott’s thought-provoking ideas beautifully.
    My big takeaway from his presentation was: Are we capturing the RIGHT stuff? And is that information helping to guide future business decisions?
    It’s a struggle, alright. Glad we’re in good company trying to wrestle with this topic.

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