March 29, 2019

Measuring Social Media Impact on a Community

By Cree Jones

Engagement rates, reach, impressions, clicks, conversions — these are all metrics that we analyze on a regular basis for our clients’ social media campaigns. For a consumer product or event, it’s pretty easy to equate digital performance to product sales or ticket sales, but when your client is a community or public place, it can be a little more challenging.

At Olive, we work with several communities, including San Diego’s Little Italy and Liberty Station, among others around California. When we approach their public relations and social media strategies, our main goal is to elevate the community as a whole and attract visitors to further promote the economic development of the neighborhood. We strategically create content that reflects the lifestyle and values of the community and use analytics to evaluate our success.

However, social media analytics won’t tell us how many of our followers are visiting the neighborhood on any given day. So how do we measure our impact?

User Generated Content

For clients such as Little Italy and Liberty Station, we find that when we post a hidden gem or neighborhood favorite on social media, we inspire followers to visit for themselves. We’ll often see an influx of users posting photos at the same spot and using location tags, branded hashtags and/or tagging the account.

Community Events

Whether it’s a free or ticketed event, we rely on social media to help get the word out. For a free event that is open to the public, we can estimate that a certain percentage of the RSVP’s received on the Facebook event page will actually show up to the event. For ticketed events, we utilize the Facebook event page as well as targeted advertising campaigns to reach our key audiences and retarget users based on their activity. Nothing feels better than when you sell out a ticketed event!

Positive Sentiment

When the communities you work with are in the most desirable areas of the country, it’s natural for development and community improvements to be taken in a not-so-positive light by some of the people in the area. But we’ve found that when we position each community as a destination for locals and visitors alike while still honoring the history and roots, overall sentiment improves on social media. Going back to the example of Little Italy and Liberty Station, both of these communities have an incredible amount of positive engagement happening on a daily basis, to the point that when someone comments something negative, people will jump in to defend it. And that is what makes this kind of work so rewarding.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Olive can make an impact on your community, message us at