Every time you make an investment, you want to know what you will eventual get out of it and how soon will that ROI actualize. This happens to be the same way we go in to social media engagements, we want to know the number of followers we have and think the bigger the number the better.

But which social media statistics should I use to find out if my investment in social media marketing or if my social media marketing strategy is really working or worthy it? As I searched for answers I came across this post by Chris Brogan and I like the way he has made his analysis in simple terms.

Stats I Really Want From Twitter and Other Services

Numbers are a tricky business. I was just thinking about Twitter, and asking myself what would make it more valuable. I’m curious if you agree on these ideas, so I thought I’d put it out:

Stats I Want from Twitter and Other Services

  • Top 10 people talking about me.
  • Top 10 people talking about my product (or search term).
  • Top 10 people responding and engaging with me (measured via # of replies in a set amount of time).
  • Top 10 people I talk about.
  • Topics I talk about most often.

Why do I want those stats? If I’m MolsonCoors, I now know who’s excited about my beer, or who hates my beer. If I’m the UPS Store, I know who’s talking the most about printing needs, so I can service them. If I’m Dollar Shave Club, I can try to gauge how many people just talk about me versus how many people are bought in.

It seems that the least useful stats are followers and following, don’t you agree? Who cares how many people follow me or how many people I follow? That’s a test of relevance, but it’s also something easy to game, as evidenced by people who show up and three months later have more followers than I’ve amassed in over five years of organic growth.

When Will Stats Grow Up?

When will we start getting useful statistics that let us measure business? If Twitter and Facebook and Google+ and others are touting how great they are for business users, why don’t they provide more ample reporting the way enterprise technology vendors are required to deliver? The last thing I care about is how many thumbs up I got on my YouTube video, but I’d love a report that shows me which URL people chose NEXT after watching my video.

Heck, MOST of us would PAY for this. It would be a revenue stream for these companies.

Am I wrong?

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Pauline is the CEO at Allen Cole, also consults for iWork and Elite Writers Hub. She works with small and medium size organizations to increase their visibility online through corporate blogging, content creation, website development and social media engagement.