3M Clears the Air about Social Media Metrics

jmann89    July 15, 2014


Organization Name: 3M Company

Contact: Greg Gerik, Social Media Leader for the Global E-Transformation Team at 3M

Industry: Conglomerate Corporation

Company Bio

3M is an American multinational conglomerate corporation with its headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota. 3M has operations in more the 65 countries around the world employing 88,000 people. You might be familiar with 3M Scotch Tape and 3M Post-It Notes but it also produces 55,000 other products.

products 3m

Measuring Metrics

The online marketing and advertising game has changed, and social media is here to stay. Every company knows they need to be using social media to brand and promote their business, however there is a disconnect between social media and their ability to effectively measure its success. In the social media world, most companies focus on the easiest and most obvious metrics such as followers, likes and comments yet fail to develop benchmarks to measure their success.

The big question is, is social media helping you achieve real business results? Companies need to look deeper into evaluating their social presence, research the extent to which their message and content are being shared and what platform is more successful.  A few measurement tools would be reach (audience growth rate), engagement and conversations. Audience Growth Rate measures the change in a brand or company’s following on social media networks. Tracking your Audience Growth Rate will help you understand your audience on each social network and measure the increase or decrease on a specific timetable.

When dealing with social media there are many untapped potentials for measuring metrics. While the majority of companies are still trying to determine how and when to take advantage, 3M has invested time, energy and tools to cultivate strong relationships within their social media communities.

3M Takes the Opportunity

Last year record breaking haze and smog blanketed Singapore and surrounding countries causing enormous social media chatter. Singaporeans were worried that respirator masks were in short supply and turned to Facebook and Twitter to voice their concerns. 3M, a major supplier of N95 face masks, were quick to respond to the concerns. The company quickly formed a crisis team of 20 employees who were dedicated to ensuring that there were enough masks for everyone.


3M Singapore’s social media team was also quick to publish tips, alternative advice on how to battle the haze and even advise on different types of respirators available. In addition,  3M sent gift packs and heartfelt letters from the management thanking local volunteers for their courage and graciousness during a time of national anxiety. As a result, 3M received greater positive social media mentions and experienced an 87% lift in people joining their social media community and interacting with other customers of the brand.

Relationship building was the central tenet of 3M’s social success. By investing the time, energy and tools to cultivate relationships, they created a sustained interaction with customers, especially important as the haze has recently re-emerged across South East Asia.

Lessons Learn:

  • Each company has their own way of measuring the success of their social media campaigns since there is not one standardized measurement tool the masses can agree on
  • Before starting a social media campaign your business must develop company goals and targets.  Once you have a target, it is easy to know if you exceed your target or not. Social media is one piece of a huge advertising puzzle and needs to be monitored like any other campaign. The biggest problem for most businesses is that their involved with 5 different social media avenues but not measuring any of them.
  • A good start for companies is to track likes, shares and comments. It is a simple way of knowing how often and how people interact with the content to help you identify which topics are most popular.

Submitted By: Jordan Mann, University of Waterloo

Author Contact: Jordan Mann, jmann@yrmg.com

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director

Web References:

Social Media Success Metrics

Social Media Metrics Tracking Tips

More than Just Likes Article

Metrics Audience Growth Rate

3M Twitter

Greg Gerik Twitter

3M Singapore Facebook

Facebook Metrics