How Top Brands Measure Social Media Success

A while back I reached out to friends in the Social Media organizations at Ford, Comcast and Dell. (Yes, you know their names, but never mind that.)  I asked each of them to provide me with one overarching statistic or chart that they used INTERNALLY to talk about Social Media ROI.

Keep in mind the cardinal rule here: I only wanted ONE metric, i.e., the one that seemed to count the most.  Each of my contacts assured me that there were many other things being measured as well.

At Ford, they talk about Social Media’s impact on Brand Perception:

Ford success

At Comcast they were keen on the idea of Customer Satisfaction:

Comcast success

And at Dell – which now literally employs Social Media ninjas – they talk about Social Media’s benefits in terms of increasing Customer Loyalty:

Dell success


Each of these metrics has a profound impact on purchase consideration and ongoing sales opportunities.

What these brands don’t tend to think too hard about?  “How many clicks did we get?”

Posted on: October 19, 2011 at 9:01 am By Todd Defren
33 Responses to “How Top Brands Measure Social Media Success”


  • It would be most interesting to hear why this metric is important to each organzation in accomplishing their Strategic Objectives. How many Strategic Objectives correlate with this metric? How is performance measured in each case?

  • Jessica says:

    I am learning about this in my social media class. We have been learning the different tools and methods companies use to keep track of their social media and its effectiveness. These graphs are great representations! Social media has shown that it is vital to a brand because in the end the fans are their brand ambassadors. Which brand do you think has the most successful social media that is not listed in this article?

  • Thank you for speaking on this subject as too many businesses are concerned with getting “likes” and not focusing on effective brand management and converting “likes” to leads.

  • Fascinating to see the social media affects for three large companies. In one of my main PR classes right now we’ve recently gone over the topic of social media. We’ve discussed exactly how businesses should be using social media to their advantage, whether its Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, or any other outlets. It is about having a conversation with customers – not just spitting out company information. Ford, Comcast, and Dell all seem to be doing a good job at utilizing social media tools in the correct way. Way to go for them! Thanks for the information.

  • Dani says:

    It is great to see companies that understand there is more to social media than how many followers they have. Kudos.

  • Yang says:

    Good post! It is good to know these top brands, such as Ford and Dell pay such attention to the impact of social media on their brand perception. And it is interesting to notice each of them has a little bit different focus point on the social media’s benefits toward their brands: Ford is about quality sentiment; Comcast is about customer satisfaction; and Dell is about customer loyalty.

  • Fascinating post about social media and how some brands measure their success in these venues. I wonder why they appear to not focus heavily on “how many clicks did we get?”

  • joanne yu liang says:

    This shows us solid statistics of social media ROI. I know that a great number of organizations now are using social media for marketing and public relations, yet not all of them track social media ROE and even ROI data since measuring social media is not as easy as traditional PR and marketing work. These are good examples of the impact of social media on purchase consideration. Thanks for the post.

  • Molly says:

    This information hits right on with everything I have been learning in my social media class. I figured what I was learning was right, but it is even more assuring when you see that is what large companies are really doing. For example, one main thing I have been learning is engagement is key in social media. After looking at the different charts each company is looking at their customers and how engaged they are. This was so helpful to see, thanks!

  • Jonathan says:

    Great information. That is a very important in every company to know what is effective. Up for this post!

  • Sandra Jones says:

    With major brands such as Ford focusing more on customer satisfaction,it only sets examples on small businesses to look further than their larger counterparts. In social media, clicks don’t just matter, many other things do.

    Thanks for the insights!

  • Kudos says:

    This is incredibly interesting. Satisfaction? Sentiment? Loyalty? I wonder how they’re tracking all of this – for example, Ford. That’d be a ton of data to pull/qualify/organize. Super intriguing. Thanks for putting this together!

  • Heather Thomas says:

    I’m happy to know that big companies like Ford and Dell are more focused on customer satisfaction and opinions than “click-throughs” and other non-relevant measurements of social media. The point of SM is to engage your audience on a particular subject, and if you’re not doing that, then what’s the point? As a college student studying public relations and one who is about to enter the field, it’s good to know that big companies are getting the point of social networking, and using information collected on these networks with true purpose. My knowledge of SM is in line with the facts that you’ve explained, which gives me hope for the future of social media from a public relations perspective.

    My question is though, what tools are used to collect this type of data, regarding sentiment and customer loyalty. What tools exist to help a company measure these components?

  • Matt Santi says:

    So each company really is going to have to figure out, more so, what the profitable of the ‘goodwill’ of a high profile Twitter presence will be instead?

  • mikemost says:

    nice Todd, very nice.

  • Kelly Rusk says:

    Another observation on these metrics is that each chose a different metric that makes the most sense for the specific business.

    i.e. Cars have a long-term sales cycle so measuring sentiment makes perfect sense.

    Everyone is so eager for a one-size-fits-all approach, but real success is custom to each business/industry etc.

    Thanks for sharing, this is very insightful!

  • Sami says:

    Great observation. While Ford and Dell absolutely need to pay attention clicks, does it really matter for Comcast? They have such a strong hold on the industry that in most places, even if you hate them, you don’t have any other option but to go without cable and internet.

    Ford and Dell (and I suppose comcast, too) need to focus not only on how many clicks they are getting but where those clicks are coming from and what they mean in the over all scheme of things. Brand perception (whatever that means) increased at Ford, but why and how does an increased brand perception affect the company. They need to look at those statistics and determine how to turn increased brand perception into sales, because site traffic doesn’t necessarily increase the bottom line. Presumably, they are doing this….but I suppose it also then be presumed they have a chart to show that…

  • Dina Meek says:

    My question is, how do they break out social media’s role in impacting these metrics? Do they look at changes during particular SM campaigns?

  • Nate Towne says:

    Very interesting – it’d be interesting to learn what tools these brands use to measure sentiment, customer loyalty, and customer satisfaction. Relying on social media monitoring tools like Radian6 will only show how they’re doing online – to truly measure these metrics I’d think they’d need to conduct large-scale surveys, both with existing customers and the general publics. I’m always curious how large brands measure these qualitative metrics – and how they can actually tie results back to social media engagement. After all, there are lots of factors involved in loyalty – it’s not all directly correlated to Twitter and Facebook. Great food for thought, thanks for sharing.

  • Jamie says:

    Imagine how much better Comcast’s customer satisfaction rating would be if they spent more time using Twitter to actually improve customer experiences rather than aggressively marketing their twitter initiative. They’v got seriously misplaced priorities IMHO.

  • Great stuff…

    I also see a correlation between size of purchase/length of sales cycle and type of metric. Comcast is more of an “impulse buy.” Sorta – but you can, if you want, change cable providers easily.

    Dell – longer-term, every couple years.

    Ford – gosh, the cycle there is LONG – we’re 5 years into our Hyundai relationship in this house, and, so, the sentiment thing (what DO we buy next) is very sensible.

    Thought-provoking, especially for those of us in smaller shops or those who work with smaller brands.

  • Great information Todd. It’s nice to see successful companies doing what they should be: measuring what’s important, evaluating what’s effective. I’m working with some small regional brands and still trying to help them connect the dots from social media to brand affinity to sales increases. The logical explanation isn’t convincing enough, irrefutable data is not available, so I’ll have to figure out another track. I’m a sucker for a challenge.

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