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Where is your social media starting line?

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You don't know how far you've come if you don't know where you started.

The same applies to social media. In order to have a real grip on the return on investment, it's critical to first have a social snapshot of where the organization is. Establishing a benchmark of the organization's current online presence, prior to executing on any significant changes, is an important piece of understanding the ROI.

Below are 5 things to consider when establishing a benchmark:

  • Are you capturing qualitative and quantitative information? Quantitative is easier to gather in terms of numbers and tangible results. It includes the number of people who make up the online community, the amount of participation, the amount of content sharing and creation, the demographic, and geographic make-up of the community.Qualitative information is key to understanding what motivates the community to take action, including the types of posts. Are they actively participating with likes and comments? And are they sharing content.
  • Does the information included in the benchmark establish measurement that is applicable to the goals? If the goals for your social media engagement are more focused on developing a deeper relationship with an existing community, then the benchmark should reflect that with the inclusion of more qualitative measurements.
  • Can the information that will be gathered for reports be easily measured against the benchmark upon execution? The benchmark serves as a point of measurement, the baseline.
  • Create a reporting mechanism to measure against that baseline. Is the benchmark comprehensive? Several statistics are built into social sites, such as website analytics and useful tools such as Hootsuite. These don't, however, provide a complete picture. Media monitoring tools that measure all digital conversations, mentions and sentiment should be included as part of the benchmark and tracked once the plan is executed.
  • Are all pieces of the social media plan covered? Every part of the social media plan will entail time, action and result.  Each anticipated result should be reflected to set the baseline, even if it's zero.

Starting blocks are used to put runners in position for optimal acceleration. Establishing the benchmark is like setting up your social media starting blocks.

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