Advancing communications measurement and evaluation

How to Set Specific Measurement Objectives for Your Social Media Stakeholder Groups

DinosaurbadgeAngela Jeffrey’s Salient Insights

This is the fourth article in a series, “Rescuing Ourselves from Social Media Measurement Dinosaur-dom.”

Here we are at Step Three of my Eight Step Social Media Measurement Process. If you’ve made it this far, and you can’t wait any longer for the ‘rest of the story,’ get it all right now at the Institute for Public Relations: “Social Media Measurement: a Step by Step Approach … using the AMEC Valid Metrics Framework.”

Meanwhile, for those of you who like a more leisurely approach, I will continue to share my journey from social media measurement confusion toward comprehension and enthusiasm for the process!

            The Eight-Step Social Media Measurement Process

  1. Identify organizational and departmental goals.
  2. Research stakeholders for each and prioritize.
  3. Set specific objectives for each prioritized stakeholder group.
  4. Set social media Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) against each stakeholder objective.
  5. Choose tools and benchmark (using the AMEC Matrix).
  6. Analyze the results and compare to costs.
  7. Present to management.
  8. Measure continuously and improve performance.

Last month’s article on Step Two (Researching Stakeholders…) left off with the conclusion of critical internal and external research to define the needs of each internal stakeholder group. We also covered mapping a ‘social graph’ to find out who and where the most important internal and external stakeholders are engaged, and executing some content analysis and surveys to hear what they are saying.

Once the Step Two research is finished, it is time to meet again with key internal managers and together decide which goals and stakeholders will take priority for the PR and/or social media program. Once these choices have been made, a practitioner can move to setting specific objectives for each stakeholder group. Remember that an objective must include an action statement, a timeline, and a measurement outcome (usually expressed as a % increase).

Here are some examples of measurement objectives:

  • If the business unit goal is to increase sales among the 25-54 year old age group, then a specific objective might be to increase leads among this target audience by 50% over the next six months.
  • Or, if the business unit goal is to increase leads for a new hi-tech product among men 18-24, then a specific objective might be to increase share of voice by 20% over the next twelve months.
  • If the HR goal is to raise the professional level of employees, then a specific objective might be to increase the number of resumes from top college graduates by 15% over the next three months.

Setting SMART Objectives

Kami Huyse, CEO of Zoetica, talks about using SMART objectives in social media in Geoff Livingston’s book, Welcome to the Fifth Estate (Livingston, 2011) and also in her whitepaper, A Commonsense Framework to Measure Social Media (Zoetica Media, 2011). SMART objectives were first developed by George Doran (1981) and were intended as a powerful management tool. The steps to building SMART objectives include making them Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Results Oriented, and Time Bound.

Once SMART objectives have been set for each key stakeholder group, it is time to build the communications programs and simultaneously select tactical measurements, or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

It is important to acknowledge that most plans that get to this point will not be solely designed for social media. They will instead encompass tools from both the online and offline worlds, and may well include tools from paid media and SEO.  But, this series will remain primarily focused on social media.

Next month we’ll dive into Part Six, which will focus on how to set social media KPIs against each stakeholder objective.  Meanwhile, if you have any measurement needs or questions, I am just an email away at


Angela Jeffrey

Angela Jeffrey

Angela Jeffrey is Vice President Brand Manager for Advertising Benchmark Index. A recognized measurement evangelist, thought leader, writer, and speaker for PR measurement and evaluation, Ms. Jeffrey created PRtrak™, one of the first analysis tools to cover print, broadcast, and internet coverage. Most recently, she served as Strategy Director US for Salience Insight and CARMA. She is also a long-time member of the IPR Measurement Commission.
Angela Jeffrey
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