Great question! And indicative that social media metrics still need some defining and that common web based metrics (which are still indicators of site success) do not report on the social aspect of a site.
Within the linkedin responses, Clay Gordon nicely describes the age old need to first define the objectives of the social site – though the goals he described were not ‘social’ in nature, but certainly any site has some kind of end business goal related to revenue and loyalty.
Social goals in my mind can vary – such as improved customer communication, improved customer experience/satisfaction, increased engagement, increased community participation, buzz. And this can be captured in many ways pending on what type of social media is being used – be that blogs, videocasting, podcasting, uploads, communities, etc.
One metric that would be really neat to track would be the reduced costs by reducing or eliminating high volume, low value customer support [ or conversely – increased customer communication – which could be measured in satisfaction around key moments of truth (mot)]. [a mot is a customer interaction that is very important to a customer]
This would be very cool to do in the housing /home builder business since there is a very long time between when a house or condo is purchased and when it is delivered. Most home builders provide ‘legal’ customer communication between purchase, design selection and final occupation. But these customers are *so* excited to have a new purchase – the opportunity to connect and create an emotional, word of mouth, loyalty is HUGE. Using social media in the housing section is a great opportunity to continue the emotional bond and excitment from first purchase past the buyers’ remorse stage and into occupation.
So.. here was my response in linkedin:
“When you say a social media site – I’m assuming there is some kind of community component. Is it internal or external? Blogs? Wikis? Is it a portal with video or podcast downloads? Any uploading? All this would affect which metrics are most important.
Standard web stats – still good for ‘social’ sites:
– unique visitors and watch growth rate over time
– type of visitor (usually limited to new vs. returning)
– source of traffic (direct, referral, paid)
– no. of pages per visit (how much is being consumed)
– time on site (mildly indicative of interaction on site)
– hot pages (top content)
– conversion goals (which can be shopping cart or registration, or something else).
*Social side* Measuring for interaction.
Here, I would be looking for metrics to cover the interaction.
We’ve seen a lot about twitter and its active vs. inactive audiences. [40% who sign on to twitter actually continue] [okay… add some % for tweetdeck, etc]
I’d want to watch how active the audience is. You define what active is – e.g. return following month after initial month of participation or ‘active in last six months’ vs. total membership. Naturally, the growth in active audience will be important in the success of your platform.
– how much is downloaded and from where if its an internal international social site.
– how much is being uploaded?
– how much is being shared? (noit sure how to track that if not covered in your analytics package).
– for an internal blogs – I’d track bloggers vs. total employee audience e.g. at IBM in 2006, 1% of the company was active bloggers – but that was 3000 people.
Importantly, I’d be interesting in how the business is supporting the success of the platform. In other words, if its an internal tool, how will the business be supporting the adoption and growth of the social platform? Will there be any personal development goals for employees related to the social site? Any mandatory onboarding lessons, etc.
From an international release standpoint (e.g. international social platforms), successful adoption is a bit tricker. The operating systems are different, connection speeds challenged, etc. So your roll-out has to be well planned and social tools robust for multi-language support.
Anyhow – good luck Martha. Sounds very exciting.