Measuring social media performance is difficult for a lot of marketers. In fact, almost 48% of senior marketers say they haven’t been able to show the impact of social to the business, according to the latest CMO Survey by the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Part of this is because there’s no dearth of data to track, and keeping higher-level objectives in mind is hard in that sort of environment. Are followers more important than engagement rates? What about pillars versus clicks? What really matters to us here?

Our new case study with Arla Foods — a Denmark-based international cooperative and the world’s sixth-largest dairy company — features a simple framework for organizing and presenting the social metrics you collect. Social media marketers often struggle with picking out the “right” metrics to report on. Here is Arla’s simplified approach to distilling the meaning from the clutter.

How Arla Foods Measures Social Audience Engagement

It gives a crystal clear understanding of how social helps build relationships with fans and potential customers alike. And it’s a framework intuitive and flexible enough to adapt to any social media team’s needs. Set time-based targets (like: “a year-over-year increase in interactions this quarter”) to start building out your strategy and seeing what works and what doesn’t.

Some ways to get started on creating your own framework are:

1. Start by identifying your outcome. These could be things like building brand awareness, bringing people to your blog, or driving signups for an event you’re planning.

2. Pick the most important metrics for your brand. Too much information is often debilitating: don’t be stuck in decision paralysis when creating your next content performance report. Figure out what’s most important to the brand, because while it’s tempting to say “everything”, that’s just not true. Do you care how many people are clicking on your content, thereby visiting your website? Or are you more concerned about fans engaging with your brand on social to establish your presence and share of voice? Once these are clear to you, you can better segment out your “engagement pillars” like Arla did.

3. Create a two-way communication channel. Social engagement isn’t a one-way street: to really establish your brand on social — and make those metrics sing — you have to recognize and reward engaged consumers. It’s a virtuous cycle that perpetuates itself.

Check out the Arla Foods case study here to learn more about how they’re collecting and viewing this social data, as well as how they’re building content for social distribution efficiently.