Three Steps to Determine Your 2012 Social KPIs

by Dhara Naik  A new year is almost upon us and chances are you’ve got your 2012 social media plan in place. Sure you’ve got great ideas, but do you have the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to understand your progress? Here are three simple steps to identify the right social media KPIs for your business.

The most important step is to take a look at your business goals or objectives for the year. Without understanding your goals you will simply have a list of metrics. You will also get trapped into collecting metrics that won’t contribute to your efforts. Each goal will have a unique set of KPIs that will help you determine whether or not you’re meeting the vision you’ve set for the year.

The second step, requiring the most amount of strategic thinking, is assigning a KPI for each goal. I like to think of KPIs as a way to tell a story about how you are successfully achieving your business objectives. In other words, they should be compelling enough to drive action. For instance, maybe one of your business goals in 2012 is to increase branding via social media. The KPI that might help you tell the story could be awareness or reach.  It’s important to note that metrics and KPIs are not the same thing; Metrics are numbers that quantify KPIs. You might even find that a KPI can apply to one or more of your goals. Ultimately you should decide on a list that will best help you tell your story.

And of course, last but not least, you’ll want to define metrics for each KPI that you and your team have developed. If KPIs help to tell a story then metrics are the details that make the story more compelling. So if we continue with the awareness or reach KPI example from above, relevant metrics can include fans, followers, subscribers, people reached or retweets. Personally I like to keep a dashboard with KPIs as broad categories followed by specific metrics under each. I also find it beneficial to measure change as ratios are always more telling than raw numbers. In this case, I also know whether or not a particular strategy or tactic is working and I can make adjustments if needed.

So before you start collecting data this upcoming year, follow these three steps to make sure you’re telling a compelling story.


What are some of the KPIs that you will be tracking in 2012? Share your thoughts in the comments!