The night is thick with darkness and the fog-coated moon is the only source of light. It reflects softly off the glistening sidewalk as your bare feet splash through murky puddles. You press on. Your destination awaits for no one and you yearn to get there. You are venturing toward the future of analytics. But as you look down at your empty satchel, you realize it needs to be filled with the supplies necessary to reach this destination. Not only that, but it must employ the utmost furnishings to accelerate you forward. You want to be the first to get there. But you are not alone in that mindset. Satchels are all around you as they swing on competitors’ shoulders.  They’re going toward the same destination too.

It’s time to break out the super powers.

As we note in this month’s ebook, the social media analytics world is changing constantly but there are pointers to craft your social media strategy into a superhuman physique. So hold onto your iPads, Batman. If you’re ready to jump into a social media program, here are some social media metrics tips that should fill your satchel to the brim.

Determine your home base. Establish what you need to measure before you give the green light on your social media program. What do you want it to do? Your metrics should align with your strategic goals so you can clearly track results. This will ground you as you venture into the social media space. As quoted by J. C. Penney in the book Social Media Metrics: How to Measure and Optimize Your Marketing Investment by Jim Stearn, “Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I’ll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I’ll give you a stock clerk.”

Cast a wide net. Go deep. For instance, if your goal is to increase awareness of your latest product, develop multiple metrics catered to each social media platform. It could be product mentions via tweets on Twitter, product link sharing on Facebook, and so on. Assess your goals to pull out the meaningful metrics. As stated in a Mequoda Group blog post by Chris Struck, “An array of metrics will help you prove the validity of your results.”

Then cast a wider net. Now that you’ve got your goals in mind and you’re looking at relevant data, open up to other forms of metrics. Look at the sentiment and behavior related to your social media program. Your community may be engaging with you about your new product via social media, but how do they feel about your product? Do they understand it? Gauge sentiment, comprehension, relevance and tone. You want the qualitative information as well as the quantitative (Avinash Kaushik does a great break down of the two on his blog).

Assess and go back out there. As results start to surface, act on them. For instance, if you tweet more, do you receive more product mentions? What makes your audience tick? Refine your efforts and jump back in! Then repeat. Here’s a great visual by that showcases this process:

Share with other Superheros. To all work toward the greater good in the world of social media analytics, we need to share. Discuss measurement methods, calculations, algorithms and approaches amongst other professionals and colleagues. Be part of the ThunderCats of social media metrics and join together in making the future of analytics an exciting one.

Do you have some social media metrics superhero tricks up your sleeve? What’s in your satchel? Feel free to share! As Spiderman once said, “With great powers comes great responsibility.”