The inspiration for the title of this post came from a talk that my friend Kami Huyse, COO of Zoetica,\u00a0gave to the PRSA - Digital Impact conference NYC in May 2010. While an amusement park like Sea World could measure success by coaster rides, you may have something different in mind for your business and the metrics of success you have. \u00a0I was part of a panel measuring results: Guide to Google Analytics, Affiliate Metrics and more at the recent Affcon 2010 Summit with Wade Sisson and Brad Geddes. My discussion was on social media analytics, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts. Jeremiah Owyang defined social analytics as\u00a0\u201cThe practice of being able to understand customers and predict them using data from the social Web." Shel Israel wrote in a post on Global Neighborhoods,\u00a0"There is great danger in measuring the wrong things." Today's weblogs and website technology gives us an enormous amount of data, and as Jim Sterne Analytics Guru says in his book "Social Media Metrics: How to Measure and Optimize Your Marketing Investment" \u00a0- "Don\u2019t be data rich, insight poor." His book is a great read on social analytics. My example of asking the right questions was a cab ride from the Ft. Lauderdale airport to the Fairmont where AffCon was held. We can get all the data we want on the speed at which the cab traveled, how nay gallons of fuel were used, how many left turns were made and so on. If we took all this data and asked a analyst to give us a measurement, but did not provide any context on business goals and value, we would probably get a summary such as, "The cab's average speed was 57mph" when what you really wanted to know was either how long it took to get from the airport to the hotel or how much the cab ride cost--depending on whether your goal was measuring travel time or expenses. 1. Identify Goals When you are evangelizing social media to your company it is definitely useful to show alignment with your company's overall goals. What are your objectives in social media ? Make friends? Influence people? Increase sales/revenue? Change public opinion of a product/company? Cut customer service cost? Conduct research at a lower cost? Get better search results, i.e rank for targeted keyword terms? Read Amber Naslund's article, "How to Create Measurable Objectives," for ideas on other things you may want to measure. 2. Agree on Social Analytics Measurement KPIs Once you have your goals set, your team can agree on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) These could be : Buzz and engagement Conversation about your brand and products Audience Building People reading your content, following you, Liking you or bookmarking you Advocates and Ambassadors Retweets, reviews, recommendations, testimonials Customer Satisfaction Engagements and results, time to resolve Feedback Product improvements, new ideas If you are a brand with a lot of raving fans you may even decide to track the number of folks who have tattooed your brand on themselves! 3. Identify Tools to Use for Measurement Google Alerts Radian6 Alterian Sysomos Scout labs ReSearch.ly Feedburner Stats Twitter followers Facebook Fans Page views Comments Retweets Shares Pagerank bit.ly ow.ly goog.gl Google Webmaster tools Google insights Google trends 4. Track Results Where did the sale/lead come from? Tweet Facebook status Blog post directly Blog post shared or bookmarked Blog post by your customer evangelists/fans Leads generated through offline events Referral traffic from your blog to website 5. Report When you are going into present your results , remember everyone in the room will be connecting the dots to figure out out this will help them in\u00a0their\u00a0business. If you are a small business owner, you know very well how this will connect to your goal of increased customer engagement and service. One of the\u00a0small businesses I speak to regularly is Dr. Alan Glazier, CEO of Shady Grove Eye and Vision, and his measurement is the climb in patient retention since he started using more social media tools and reduced some of his traditional marketing expenses. Chef Vinod of Indique Heights, a\u00a0favorite\u00a0restaurant of mine, says his blog,\u00a0K.N. Vinod,\u00a0has brought in comments from customers and more restaurant reviews. Another restaurateur, Kumar\u00a0Iyer of Rangoli Restaurant in South Riding, Virginia, has used social media to\u00a0organize\u00a0events, and finds event participation is a great measurement. Katie Paine has a convenient\u00a0social media measurement checklist and\u00a0PR Measurement Blog for you to use.\u00a0 There are also books that I have read where examples of success are plenty - Shel Israel's Naked Conversation and Twitterville. Charlene Li has some examples of benefits of dialog in her book Open Leadership which could be used in your business as well. 6. Change Remember your goals and measurement may change. \u00a0Don't be afraid to adjust tools and methods as needed. As the Turkish proverb says, "No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back." Resources The following resources can help you learn more about measuring your social media results: Social\u00a0 Marketing Analytics 100 Ways to Measure Social Media How are you planning your social analytics strategy?