5 Tips for Building a Great Social Media Dashboard

If you are tasked with building a social media dashboard to track your efforts, look no further than this post. I have built many dashboards over the years, and as a personal resolution to making my job easier, I decided to cut to the chase and get to the metrics that matter most. That means cutting out the everyday metrics that litter and cloud up the social media manager's real success story.

Now I am not saying that tracking followers, fans, sentiment, etc. is not important, but those are the vanity metrics that tend to give social media a bad name. These types of metrics are great indicators, but they don't really tie back to your business bottom line: driving revenue. With that being said, here are the top metrics that I measure here at Marketo on a weekly basis.

1) Referring traffic from social. Google Analytics is a fantastic way to measure how much traffic is being referred to your website from the various social channels. Set up goals based on the actions you want your visitors to complete, such as form fill-outs, demo requests, and free trials. As you boost your social efforts and refine your strategy, you should start to see more referring traffic if your content is resonating.

2) Conversions from social. This one's pretty self-explanatory. Set up conversions as goals inside Google Analytics and simply measure the source of your conversions. Is the referral traffic that comes from social converting? If not, then adjust your content strategy, as your content may not be referring folks who meet your buyer profile.

3) People talking about us. Facebook may not have the greatest reporting with insights, but they do give you one wonderful metric that is an easy measure for success. The goal of this number is to track conversations happening around specific pages. This number is pulled from a variety of interactions that can occur on Facebook over a seven-day period. It's basically a current barometer of how much conversation is being generated by a Page on Facebook. Here's the description of "Talking About This" from Facebook:

The number of unique people who have created a story about your Page during your selected date range. A story is created when someone: Likes your Page; Likes, comments on, or shares your Page post; answers a question you've asked; responds to your event; mentions your Page; tags your Page in a photo; or checks into or recommends your Place.

4) Share of voice. In social media, share of voice (SOV) refers to the number of conversations about your company vs. your competitors/market. The value of online customer and prospect interaction can be tied to the this metric, which I like to call "The Big Picture Show." The formula for calculating SOV is simple: divide the number of conversations or mentions of your brand by the total number of conversations or mentions about other brands in your market. Segment the brand mentions by social channel to uncover opportunities for improvement. You may find that your efforts in one particular channel are going unnoticed, but excelling in another.

5) Share of conversation. Very similar to the SOV metric, but instead of total mentions of your brand vs. competitors, this metric focuses more on specific topical conversations. For example, it's very useful for me to understand how much of the marketing automation conversations taking place online are mentioning Marketo.

The social metrics used to determine success are going to be the ones that make sense for your business and that you can tie back to your marketing bottom line. Building a simple dashboard is an easy way to track and update these metrics on a weekly or monthly basis. You can then monitor trends and set goals for growth based on what's working. If your metrics are not moving in the right direction or seem to be stalled, try mixing your messaging and experimenting with different posting times and frequency.

Don't forget the most important thing about your beautiful new dashboard: do something with the data. Tracking these social metrics is a complete waste of time if you come away without any actionable data or insights to enhance your overall strategy. But that's another post altogether, so stay tuned.

Jason Miller is the social media manager at Marketo. He leads Marketo's social media strategy focusing on optimizing social for lead generation and driving revenue. He is a regular contributor to leading marketing blogs such as Social Media Examiner, Social Media Today, and Marketing Profs. When he is not building campaigns, writing content, and tracking the ROI of social you can find him photographing rock'n'roll shows and blogging about music. This blog was originally posted on Marketo's website.

Published: February 20th, 2013

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