Dan McDonnell on Evaluating your Social Media Program

My name is Dan McDonnell, and I am a Community Manager at the American Evaluation Association.

For me, social media is life, both personally and professionally. I met my wife on Twitter and had a live tweet feed and hashtag at our wedding. But what I love most about social media is the data: I spend hours analyzing the growth, engagement and effectiveness of various social media communities. What types of Facebook posts get people talking? What tweets are being retweeted the most?

To help you through the social media evaluation process, I’ve put together a couple of tips to help you evaluate the impact of your social media campaigns.

Hot Tip: Determine Key Performance Indicators
What goals are you trying to accomplish with your social media presence? Select key performance indicators (KPIs) that tie to your overall marketing strategies. If you’re trying to increase traffic to your website through social, look at social media referrals on Google Analytics. If you’re trying to promote year-round engagement and in-depth discussion with your audience, focus on Twitter @mentions, Facebook comments and shares, as well as comments on LinkedIn as measures of success.


Image courtesy of Google Analytics.

Hot Tip: Conduct a Listening Campaign
A tried and true social media listening campaign will provide you with a wealth of intelligence to evaluate. See what industry leaders and influencers are talking about on their social media channels. Research what hashtags and topics are trending on Twitter and which keywords appear commonly in social media conversation around your industry.


 Image courtesy of Wordle.com.

Rad Resource: Measure with Sprout Social

 Sprout Social graphic

 Image courtesy of Sprout Social

Social media analytics software Sprout Social is a great resource to use to immediately start tracking your campaign performance. Normally, you have to dig individually into each platform to get this data, and Twitter’s baseline reporting is notoriously limited, necessitating the use of third party applications. Sprout streamlines the process, allowing you to easily track stats across Twitter, Facebook and Google Analytics, Google + and more. You can review the demographics of your followers or measure numerous reach and engagement metrics, like new followers on Twitter or shares on Facebook.

Once you’ve connected your profiles to Sprout and have tracked a statistically significant data set (3-6 months, minimum is recommended), the more in-depth analysis can truly begin.

One word of caution: there is such a wealth of data available that it can be easy to get go deep into the rabbit hole of analytics. My recommendation is to focus on a handful of measurements to maximize the time you spend on evaluation, and minimize the time spent on pulling data. Happy evaluating!

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

1 thought on “Dan McDonnell on Evaluating your Social Media Program”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.