munication agency with offices in Boston, New York City and San Francisco,
notes, “The system of measurement
we use examines the impact of social
media as an integrated part of the
communications landscape.” SHIFT’s
tracking, both for its own use and on
behalf of clients, attributes the impact
of social media to six areas beyond
social metrics: search, paid media, representative sample surveying, marketing metrics (such as email list growth
and lead generation), sales metrics and
traditional audience metrics from the
“It’s simple, but it’s not easy,” says
Penn. His No. 1 piece of advice for
communicators: “You absolutely, pos-
itively, must get good at tagging and
While outcome metrics like reve-
nue are obviously important, effective
communicators should have a solid
understanding of the value of the dif-
ferent actions that people take on the
way to that outcome. For instance,
when someone signs up for your news-
letter on your website, do you know
what the lifetime conversion value of
your newsletter is? “You should be able
to assign a value to the newsletter sub-
scriptions, with the understanding that
it may not yield revenue today but it’s
going to be revenue down the road,”
explains Penn. The same is true of any
other levels of engagement that people
have with you, such as visits to a land-
ing page or requests for information.
“Tag everything so you know what
you’re looking for,” he says. “That will
allow you to understand the value of
all of the activities that anyone can
Initially, though, it’s all about strat-
egy. Social media are, after all, just
another tool. They don’t necessarily
play a role in every communication
campaign you will undertake. In fact,
sometimes they are simply irrelevant.
Social media tools aren’t for everyone in
social media in the boardroom
What do corporate directors and senior managers know about social media?
It’s a good question—and the title of a 2012 study produced jointly by the
Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University and The Conference Board, which surveyed more than 180 senior executives and corporate
directors at public and private companies in the U.S. and Canada. Of particular
interest to communicators looking to convince their organization’s senior
leadership of the value of social media, the study found:
• Only 14 percent of respondents said that their organization uses metrics
from social media to track the success of its business activities.
• 7 percent of board members and 23 percent of senior managers said they get
reports summarizing information and metrics gleaned from social media.
In this video, the study’s lead author, David F. Larcker, director of the Corporate Governance Research Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, discusses some of the ideas and fears senior executives have about social
media, including whether it increases the value of the business.
For more information, download the entire study.
Social media are,
after all, just another
tool. They don’t necessarily play a role in
campaign you will
undertake. In fact,
are simply irrelevant.