4 – SMART metrics

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Related: our PROMISE, KISS metrics and web-based software and SMART metrics (you are here).

SMART metrics are Specific, Manageable, Actionable, Relevant, Trending, which makes them ideal for creating a system to benchmark blogs and other social media efforts. However, they can also be used to evaluate social media analytics and media metrics systems that you may purchase. What follows are some of the issues you need to watch out for.

Your benchmarking tool must be able to record specific metrics and have enough flexibility to add necessary details. Of course, the specific metrics must be measurable and make sense to you and your clients, investors or stakeholders. Metrics are in the eye of the beholder, making it imperative that the higher-ups and any clients understand the reason for using each specific metric and its purpose.

Manageable – get it quick and easy
Some benchmarking or media analytics systems can be so detailed and complex that using them is a part time job. That is not helpful because it distracts from using the findings to make improvements to your bottom line.
For this reason, Keep it Simple, Stupid (KISS) is the guiding principle for our dashboard.

Specific metrics must always be actionable, otherwise gathering the data is not useful. If your physical check-up reveals problems, it is not wise to ignore that data. Getting metrics must trigger action. Comparing yourself to the leaders in your category by metric reveals any potential room for improvement, allowing you to start doing something concrete about it RIGHT AWAY.

Relevant – does you boss understand
Ensuring your objectives are relevant for your enterprise means taking context into consideration. If your Mini Cooper does not have a Ferrari engine under the hood, you can still be happy with its great gas mileage. There is no way to win a race against a Ferrari, but why should you want to?

Trending – what happens over time
In order to improve, key metrics produced today should be put in context with previous performance. This can be achieved by making comparisons to prior time periods, especially the previous year. Chart and watch the trends. This helps answer questions pertaining to potentially significant changes to the number of reader comments or overall traffic.

Focus on three to five key metrics that are relevant for your social media or blogging efforts and especially your particular constituencies (superiors, clients and so forth). If a metric does not result in action (e.g., latest financial figures show negative cash flow – what now?), it cannot be used as a key metric. In fact, it may simply be detracting from getting the job done smarter and faster.

P.S. – Several slight alterations of the term SMART exist, such as: Specific, Manageable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely or Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timely web analytics versus ComMetrics’ Specific, Manageable, Actionable, Relevant, Trending.