I attended a social media course a couple of weeks back where among other topics we discussed the measurement of social media. As you will be aware there are a number of ways of measuring the success of companies Facebook and Twitter pages, for example how many fans/followers they have and the amount of interaction that occurs between the company and fans/followers.

Diagram: the ripple effect

However, one measure that I do not think we place enough emphasis on is what is sometimes called the ‘influencer ripple effect.’ Before I explain this phenomenon let me just tell you that the average user has 130 friends on Facebook.

As a business, say you have 100 fans on Facebook, you may think that this is rather dismal compared to say Cadbury Dairy Milk who have 372,250 fans. Though, this measure is not in itself a good measure of social media success. What you need to look at is how engaged those 100 fans are.

Assuming your 100 fans have on average 130 friends, and those 100 fans are highly engaged with your brand then they are likely to share your information in some way with their friends right? Whether that be ‘liking’ one of your posts or re-tweeting one of your tweets, each of those 130 friends has now been exposed to your brand. Then some of the 130 friends may share the information with their 130 friends and so the phenomenon goes on.

Over time this phenomenon will help you to grow your fan base, fans that are actually engaging with your brand.

[image courtesy of http://darmano.typepad.com/]

@petra_aitken