You've set up your enterprise social network, made all the company-wide announcements, employees are logging on... but suddenly you realize you have no idea what impact your communications have on employees lives.

New tools for internal communications comes with new metrics to measure, a new lingo to understand, and yet familiar ways to improve and reach goals.

Internal communicators can measure success in their organization and maintain network health by looking at the metrics that matter most for social. 
 

Going Back to Your Baselines

Setting baselines is important when putting new strategies in place for your communications; it's necessary to get a pulse on the heath of your work. In this context, baseline setting with ESNs and other social networks tells you how you're improving over time and how employees are using new networks.

Take a look at the first months you've implemented your ESN or social network. Alternatively, if you've had an ESN for ages now, look at where you are today or a month you were proud of. Make this period of time your baseline -- the point where you will compare changes and results from new strategies.

In our earlier post of this series, we set a short-term and a long-term goal. Once your network has been properly adopted, you want to go back to your long-term goal to start measuring.
 

Our Internal Social Engagement Goal

Here's the long-term goal we set, which we recommended you use as an example of the type of goal you work towards setting:
 

Have a 1.5% engagement rate in time for the company Christmas party.

 
Big brands tend to have a low engagement rate whereas your own personal Twitter account, for example, might have a much higher one (that's simply because a brand typically has more followers than an individual). So, as a benchmark for your organization's communications with many members, 1% - 3% is pretty good.

It's impossible to know and understand where you're going if you don't know where you currently stand and where you used to be. Having a foundation to base your changes upon is crucial to measuring success.
 

Metrics for your Chosen Enterprise Social Network

Most ESNs provide the same metrics or information, but use different terminology occasionally, as we also learned from our last post on choosing an internal social network.

Keeping your goals in mind, it's important to know where you currently stand and where you'd like to be in your network success. Remember that short term goal you set a while back? Hopefully now your internal network is ready for a long-term goal, with lots of employees logging on and using the network.

A long-term goal in place allows you to set a baseline and a measure of comparison for the future! After all, you can't improve what you can't measure.

Let's get into the data every internal communicator needs to know to successfully measure and improve their ESN. After optimizing ESN adoption, it's time to get the pulse of a healthy network.

Impressions

Impressions and reach are often confused, but we're going to set the record straight right away:
 

Impressions = number of times your content has been seen

Reach = number of people who have seen your content

 

Impressions are an incredibly valuable and helpful metric, especially when getting a pulse on your network in the early stages and beyond. By seeing how many employees view your content, you can make specific adjustments to your ESN content schedule.

When comparing to your baseline, you might notice there are higher impressions on content posted on the ESN in the morning, during employees' commute on the train when they're already on their phones checking Facebook and Instagram or just after lunch when employees are more likely to feel the after-lunch lull and procrastinate. 

A lot of communicators we've spoken to shockingly haven't considered how time of day affects the success of their communications. Being conscious of time is really important to making changes both in your email communications and your enterprise social network.

Reaction-Type Metrics

There's an interesting trend going on in the social media sphere which tracks and gages interest on how users feel about something.

Even Facebook is on board with the long overdue release of reactions. Facebook users can now feel beyond the 'like' -- they can react with Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, Angry, all complete with their own emojis. Still no 'Dislike', although, maybe for the better.

Other social internal email networks also have taken the cue, providing users with the opportunity to react to content: badges, likes, sentiment reactions.

With reaction-type metrics, communicators are literally able to understand how employees feel/think about certain information and compare what is the most successful or well received.

Engagement

Engagement is the number of times a user interacted with content in a particular way. Across every network, engagement type data exists and that's generally the number of times a user interacted with a piece of content, whether that's a 'like', a comment, share, link click, poll answers, or whatever else it may be depending on the network you're using. 
 

Engagement = number of times a user interacted with content

Engagement rate = number of engagements divided by impressions

 
A high engagement rate is something you want to strive for and it's perhaps the most important metric when benchmarking. Engagement data allows you to gage the overall health of your network. This data translates into actual engaged employees, who are using the platform and using it in the right way.

But remember, you can’t have engagement without impressions.

With high engagement most often comes with more impressions, as engaged employees are more likely to share and start a dialogue, then making content more noticeable to other less engaged employees in the network.

If you're looking for more information on what is considered engagement, Twitter stands as a good example for a network with a large number of engagement indicators:

  • Likes
  • Retweets
  • Replies
  • Link clicks
  • Embedded media clicks
  • Detail expands/Tweet expansions
  • Shared via email
  • Hashtag clicks
  • User profile and profile photo clicks
  • New Follows
  • Interaction with Cards

Mobile Usage

Mobile device data is undeniably important and a handful of ESNs provide this information.

Thanks to mobile devices and well-designed apps, employees are able to access the internal social network anywhere and at any time. Communicators are able to get an even better idea of how employees are using the network with actionable data.

With mobile devices dominating our world externally, internal communications is keeping up with the trends. Gatehouse's 2016 State of the Sector report discussed the importance mobile already has on internal communications. Take advantage of this data and use it to alter how you send out communications. With mobile data, communicators can:

  • Optimize length of posts and find the ideal post length that most employees are able to easily interact with (the longer the post, the less inclined employees might be to read on).
  • Get more creative with how information is communicated for smaller screens: images, infographics, memes, GIFs, etc.
  • Better understand how employees are using the network and what for (for example, if people are using mobile then you're going to link less to the intranet).

Comparing the Networks

Every internal network provides helpful and actionable data communicators can use to improve upon their efforts. Although, as previously mentioned, each network has a slightly different name for this data (and a different home).

Whatever network you may be using, this table we put together can help communicators make sense of it all:

  Jive Twitter Yammer Slack
Impressions Impacts or Sentiment Impressions See Members page for engaged users over time No data
Engagement Engagement Analytics Dashboard Engagement per tweet. Engagement rate: # of engagements divided by impressions Member Engagement via Network Admin, Analytics, Dashboard Install Leo (OfficeVibe) app addon
Mobile Usage Can be used with Google Analytics Viewable by individual tweet at your profile Access page Can use Google Analytics
Reaction Metrics Impacts or Sentiments ‘Like’, employees can click on individual tweets ‘Like’, employees can click on individual posts Can add a reaction emoji to individual messages

 
Maintaining network health comes down to understanding how to measure the impact of your social network. After working hard to get employees to log on and fully adopt the network, your work isn't over.
 
Think of your network as a new flower in your internal communications garden; you're not going to see any major growth in the beginning, until employees log on and the plant starts to bud. But growth is dependent on cultivation, from the beginning and onwards.

Your network needs smart measurement to stay healthy and help you understand what resonates most with your internal audience.