Do You Distinguish Between Health and Business Metrics?

A common hurdle for business owners who want to analyze performance is the belief that the trend towards so-called "Big Data" requires complex, convoluted metrics to make it worthwhile. In reality, however, all you need to know are those that show you where the business has been and where it's headed. Be it a difficult calculation or something surprisingly simple, your business must distinguish between health metrics and success metrics. The former can be interesting, but the latter are where the rubber meets the road, at least in terms of success for your small business. [caption id="attachment_2175" align="aligncenter" width="519"]Buffer app analytics Using analytics to find optimal times to share content | Source:[/caption]  

Understanding Health Metrics

Health metrics are those that measure how marketing - and especially social media - initiatives are performing with your audience. These include:
  • Facebook page likes
  • Twitter followers
  • Linkedin connections
  • Pinterest board followers
  • Social network reach (natural reach, shares etc)
  • Social network engagement (comments, reviews  etc.)
  • and many more.
Health metrics help a business to understand how well social media communications are being received and whether or not a community is growing around the organization's online presence. While these numbers will give you a better understanding of how your business is doing on various platforms and with individual tactics, they won't show a tangible contribution to your bottom line. A high number of Facebook likes is nice to look at, perhaps even showing a healthy page (though not always!), but isn't the same as saying Facebook has brought in business for you. That requires a metric that links business strategies to business success.  

Understanding Business Success Metrics

Success metrics are those that measure tangible gains to the bottom line of your business. These include promotional sign ups, customer referrals, sales leads generated and confirmed sales and tend to have a dollar value assigned to them. Both types of number are important to get an overall sense of where an investment in social media is paying off or not. But it's this second form that shows you what contributes directly to that bottom line success. Return on investment (ROI) is one of the first things that comes to mind when the numbers get crunched. This is invariably a success metric, with health metrics perhaps feeding into its calculation. The best way to get to ROI is to define the business goals ?that you expect your social media and marketing initiatives to contribute to. You can then work backwards to see how the platforms and campaigns feed into a successful conversion, such as purchases made after clicks through from an ?e-mail offer, for example. If you have examples of successful metrics that your business has implemented, we'd love to hear them! Connect with us over on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to do so.

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