How Should We Measure Social Media and Social Networking?

One of the joys of the Interwebs is that we can measure everything, from page views to visitors to purchases. It’s not as exact as some of the “experts” say it is (what really is a visitor, anyways, and are cookies really that reliable?), measuring the impact of social media and consequently attaching dollars to it has been a tricky proposition.

How do you measure the impact of a blinking, ugly MySpace page with 38 ads, 23,143 friends, and photos of themselves using a cell phone and a mirror? Is advertising effective there?

Webwalker, a blog in Canada (that explains it!) has come up with a first cut metrics list for social media. They linked off to this white paper about social media, which is a great read.

  1. Generate awareness.
  2. Drive Trial.
  3. Product Launch.
  4. Establish Need/Want
  5. Product/Service Comparison.
  6. Positive Association.
  7. Form/Change Opinion.
  8. Influence the Influencers.
  9. Drive Action/Traffic.
  10. Establish/Regain Trust.  

It’s a bit rough, I don’t totally agree with some of the classifications, and maybe this be condensed a bit, but it’s a start in the right direction. Comments?