This series of articles has been examining social media measurement strategies. So far we’ve focused on the one, true financial measure, ROI, and have started to examine more qualitative measures like impact on brand equity.Whether you work for a company or a non-profit (these days, is there a difference?), you must strive to align every marketing initiative with the organization’s mission. But I also know true financial measurement may not be feasible. And in that case, it’s time to throw ROI out the door.

Why? Because grandma always told me to deal with what is, not what we wish for. We have to be realists. Your best efforts to achieve accurate financial measurement may be constrained by technology, budget and resources. So, if you can’t get there in the near-term, what DO you measure? That’s why we’ll now turn the discussion to non-financial indicators (NFI’s) and the critical importance of selecting the correct measurement strategy for your social media marketing efforts.

There are hundreds of potential NFI’s but there is only one question you need to know to pick the right one: What behavior am I trying to drive?

Here is a great example of this concept in action. Walgreen’s has been a stellar financial performer and much of that has been attributed to its focus on one metric: Net profit per customer visit. Behavior they are driving? Spend more money with Walgreens!Think about the impact of that one metric — it would influence the store location and lay-out, product placement, product choices, advertising strategy, branding strategy, pricing decisions … literally every design, distribution and marketing decision could be made to drive that single metric ever upwards.

So you can see how powerful and critically important choosing the correct metric can be. And if you do, a magical thing will happen — Your marketing activities will begin to conform to that goal. The manner and level of engagement will rise to meet the need of pushing that metric higher and higher. If you choose wisely, the appropriate NFI will make your strategy EVOLVE!

What behavior are YOU trying to drive and how are your metrics supporting it? Sharing your ideas would help our community.

The next article in this series will examine specific options as you try to answer this most important question in marketing measurement.

This is Part Five of a series examining social media marketing measurement.

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