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Social media metrics

This is an excerpt from Sport Public Relations 3rd Edition With Web Resource by G. Clayton Stoldt,Stephen W. Dittmore,Mike Ross & Scott E. Branvold.

Like all public relations tactics, the use of social media by sport organ­izations should be monitored and evaluated for effectiveness and impact. While the complete return on investment (ROI) in a tweet may not be able to be formulated, a variety of evaluative mea­sure­ments exist to determine overall social media effectiveness. No one metric should be deemed a global evaluative mea­sure­ment, ­because what sport public relations professionals are mea­sur­ing should be guided by what they wish to know, and how that information aligns with the goals and objectives of the organ­ization and its public relations efforts. Ultimately, social media and overall orga­nizational goals ­will determine the type of metrics that are impor­tant to mea­sure.

Each of the four social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube) previously discussed have varying internal analytics tools embedded within the platform. Seiter (2018) described social media analytics as fitting into six dif­fer­ent categories:

  1. Activity
  2. Reach
  3. Engagement
  4. Acquisition
  5. Conversion
  6. Retention and advocacy

Depending on the organ­ization’s goals, a varying combination of ­these categories should be used to provide information on the effectiveness of social media content and strategy.

Seiter defines social media activity as output or the amount of content produced by the public relations professional. That could include the number of statistical infographics created to showcase a par­tic­u­lar team or the number of Instagram posts per month during the season. Tracking the numbers of varying content by type (post, photo, video, ­etc.) may be helpful as well in ensuring dynamic engagement with the audience. Seiter comments that the amount of money spent producing content should be factored into the tracking of activity.

The second category of metrics includes mea­sure­ment of the audience and the potential audience, which Seiter defines as reach. Included in ­these metrics are post reach and impression, which are the estimated numbers of ­people who do see and could see content, respectively. If a new youth sport fa­cil­i­ty wishes to use social media to grow awareness of the brand, the total number of fans or followers within the specified time would be monitored for growth. The organ­ization may also wish to track fan sentiment, or the percentage of fans or followers who react negatively, positively, or neutrally to mentions of the brand.

Shleyner (2019) defined engagement metrics as the mea­sure­ment of how ­people interact with content produced. ­These metrics are action-­based, functional mea­sures of content seeking to give an audience something to do. The average engagement rate is one metric to track in this category specifically. Average engagement rate is the number of engagement actions (such as a retweet or like) on a social network post, divided by the number of total followers of the page or organ­ization on a par­tic­u­lar social network. As an example, envision world soccer ­giant FC Barcelona posting on Twitter a photo of one of Lionel Messi’s most memorable goals in the matchup in advance of the team’s upcoming El Clásico match against ­bitter rivals Real Madrid. This photo is intended to stir a memory and give the audience something to feel. The average engagement rate would be calculated by the number of followers who reacted to the post (on Twitter that would be the number of likes plus replies plus retweets) divided by the number of followers the team has on Twitter.

Acquisition metrics are focused on the building of relationships and are especially crucial for sport public relations professionals in proving the value of social media efforts. The amount of traffic that a social networking site can drive back to a website is one example of an acquisition metric. Seiter (2018) describes that many of ­these metrics can come from Google Analytics and may also involve other ele­ments such as the number of new subscribers to a blog ­after it is linked to on a social networking site, the number of ­people who signed up for e-­mail based on a specific post, and so on. Acquisition metrics are a good mea­sure­ment of posts that give an audience something to do.

Conversion metrics are most closely related to marketing metrics, such as sales and revenue generated by social media efforts. ­These metrics are essential for public relations professionals who may be managing social media efforts as proof that ­those efforts do play a part in converting a fan into an active consumer, which ties directly to marketing and revenue generation efforts.

The final category of metrics is retention metrics. ­These mea­sure ­things such as satisfaction rates (which can be collected through a poll). Also in this category would be the number of and quality of reviews left by fans or followers (­these metrics are especially useful with Facebook). Another metric is the number of positive testimonials collected through social media (­these may come in comments, mentions, or even via direct message).

New metrics for social media effectiveness seem to appear each day. The ultimate guides to what should be mea­sured are the organ­ization’s goals, the alignment of public relations goals and social media goals, and any other variables that provide information about the effectiveness of a par­tic­u­lar social media strategy or tactic.