Are you the keeper of your organization’s social media metrics? If so, perhaps you’re like me and are a bit obsessive over data accuracy. Perhaps you dutifully copy and paste numbers from Facebook, Twitter or some other measurement tool every week, month or quarter to track your progress over time. But are your spreadsheets missing a key element? What happens when you go on vacation or someone else takes over after you’re gone?
You might have read this far and expect to hear something about what you should be measuring. That’s not what this post is about. Certainly put thought into your goals/objectives and match them with your measurement, but if you want to use data to measure your progress, the important thing is that you are measuring the same thing in the same way on a consistent basis.
So, what are you missing? If you don’t have explicit directions in your metrics spreadsheet indicating how you got to the numbers you did, you’re likely to run into problems. Someone else is going to come along and pull numbers another way, and it will skew your results. You might even be the guilty party. It’s always worth thinking about the numbers behind your numbers. If something is a “rate” like an engagement rate, that means there is more than one number that goes into making it. You might think it’s simple.
Facebook Post Engagement Rate = Comments/Post Reach
Or maybe you want:
Facebook Post Engagement Rate = Comments + Likes + Shares/Post Reach
See what I mean? Both could be considered post engagement rates, but the underlying numbers will be different. If you go into the Facebook insight dashboard and look at their engagement rate, it’s calculated as:
Facebook Post Engagement Rate = Comments + Likes + Shares + Clicks/Post Reach
Again, different. For a final wrench, the main dashboard Facebook gives you only goes back so far. If you start downloading data for a custom range, Facebook breaks the data out into unique reach and total reach, but it’s unclear which they use in their calculations on the main dashboard.
So, what’s a dedicated social media metrics manager to do? Take the time to make a far left column in your metrics spreadsheet to say exactly where your numbers are coming from. I mean exactly, use screenshots if necessary. This can apply more broadly to all your dashboards. If there’s a tool that just spits numbers out for you every week, it’s worth asking what goes into those calculations so you can become an educated data consumer and ensure you’re regularly getting accurate or at least consistent data. Having accurate data can help you make decisions that lead you to the most effective actions.